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Up, up and away over Horseshoe Bay with hot-air balloon event

DANIEL CLIFTON • PICAYUNE EDITOR

The balloons are returning to Horseshoe Bay on April 18-20 for the annual Balloons Over Horseshoe Bay Resort. People can experience the thrill of the watching the balloons take flight as well as enjoy a 'balloon glow.' There is even an opportunity for tethered rides. But balloons are just part of the fun as the event packs in live music, a car show, wine tasting and much more. Go to www.balloonsoverhsbresort.com for more information and tickets. Courtesy photo by Joe MacKay

The balloons are returning to Horseshoe Bay on April 18-20 for the annual Balloons Over Horseshoe Bay Resort. People can experience the thrill of the watching the balloons take flight as well as enjoy a ‘balloon glow.’ There is even an opportunity for tethered rides. But balloons are just part of the fun as the event packs in live music, a car show, wine tasting and much more. Go to www.balloonsoverhsbresort.com for more information and tickets. Courtesy photo by Joe MacKay

HORSESHOE BAY — It’s not often you get the chance to see a skunk, named Spunky at that, drift over Horseshoe Bay. But don’t worry about crimes against your olfactory nerves. This skunk comes with a lot of hot air but no bad smell.

Spunky the Skunk is just one of more than 20 balloons making an appearance during the Balloons Over Horseshoe Bay Resort on April 18-20 at the Horseshoe Bay Resort Jet Center.

“We’re really excited about the balloon festival this year,” said Bryan Woodward of Horseshoe Bay Resort. “It’s a great avenue to showcase Horseshoe Bay Resort and the Horseshoe Bay area to a statewide audience.”

Plus, it’s just darn fun for spectators of all ages. And kids under 12 are admitted free with a paying parent (limit of two kids per parent), which makes it quite affordable for all this fun packed into a few days. Tickets start at $20 for the April 19 activities.

The day starts with the gates opening at 6 a.m. at the Jet Center. And you don’t want to dally around getting there because the balloon ascension starts at 7 a.m. At that time, more than 20 balloons from across the country take to the sky.

If you’ve never experienced a balloon ascension before, you’ll want to check it out because when all those balloons leave the ground within minutes, even seconds, of each other, you’ll have to pick your jaw up off the ground.

The kids, especially, will talk about the event for days to come. And while the colorful balloons themselves are worthy of the trip over, the show features several “shaped” balloons such as Spunky.

“Kids are going to love the special shaped balloons we have this year (such as) Spunky the Skunk and the Purple People Eater,” Woodward said. “We encourage visitors to bring their cameras and enjoy watching the balloons light up the sky.”

And he’s not just referring to the balloons taking off. Some of the best photos come when the crews set up the balloons for flight and light up the craft with the hot-air causing flame. It’s not just when the crews are preparing the balloons for flight either.

The festival includes a balloon glow at 7:30 p.m. the same day. This is something to see because all the balloons will be tethered to the ground, but then the crews will “light” them up at the same time using the flame that heats the air inside the craft. As the sun sets, this creates a magical scene as the light inside the balloons dance with the color of the craft.

Other activities during April 19 include a powered parachute show at 8 a.m. and again at 4:30 p.m. There will be an antique airplane display (9-10:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.) as well as an antique car show. In the evening session that starts at 4 p.m., you can explore vendors booths and enjoy some wine tasting.

The evening includes live music featuring Lost and Nameless Orchestra and Reckless Kelly.

Austin Helicopter Tours is even offering rides for an additional price during the day. But you have to pre-register online for those rides.

The April 19 events are open to the public with a ticket, while the April 18 and 20 activities are reserved for sponsors and club members, or you can enjoy them by registering for the Horseshoe Bay VIP Festival Package.

Go to www.balloonsoverhsbresort.com for a complete schedule, to purchase tickets, for more information or learn about the VIP packages.

Parking for the event is at Summit Rock Golf Club, 9000 West FM 2147 in Horseshoe Bay. Turn right on Summit Rock Blvd. and look for the parking signs for Balloons Over Horseshoe Bay Resort. Shuttles will run from 6 a.m.-10 p.m. on April 19 and are included in the ticket price.

daniel@thepicayune.com

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