La Balooza Hot Air Balloon Festival rises

The La Balooza Hot Air Balloon Festival rose into action on Friday and continues Saturday at the Gainesville Raceway.
The La Balooza Hot Air Balloon Festival rose into action on Friday and continues Saturday at the Gainesville Raceway. (Photo by Megan V. Winslow)

The La Balooza Hot Air Balloon Festival inflated into action on Friday and concludes on Saturday at the Gainesville Raceway.

The annual event – which opens its gates at 5 p.m. – includes rides on a tethered hot air balloon, vendor markets, live music, magicians, roaming entertainers and a kids zone. Balloon rides are not guaranteed as they are weather permitting.

The evening brings a Night Glow and Laser Show that features hot air balloons, high-powered lasers and pyrotechnics that are synchronized to music with shows at 7 and 10 p.m.

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Tickets at the gate are $30 for adults and $15 for kids with the proceeds going to benefit the Special Olympics.

Pilot Henry Rosenbaum shows Broward Roberts, 5, how to ignite his balloon's propane tank. Broward's parents brought he and his younger brother, Brooks Roberts, 3, from Ocala to see the festival
Photo by Megan V. Winslow Pilot Henry Rosenbaum shows Broward Roberts, 5, how to ignite his balloon’s propane tank. Broward’s parents brought he and his younger brother, Brooks Roberts, 3, from Ocala to see the festival.
Santa Fe Community College students who volunteered at the festival earned a free ride into the sky.
Photo by Megan V. Winslow Santa Fe Community College students who volunteered at the festival earned a free ride into the sky.
Pamela Mann of Ormond Beach laughs after the sudden spurting sound of propane startled her.
Photo by Megan V. Winslow Pamela Mann of Ormond Beach laughs after the sudden spurting sound of propane startled her.
Pilot Henry Rosenbaum's balloon, center, holds 60,000 cubic feet of air, the equivalent of 401,083 NFL footballs. Rosenbaum is from Mechanicsville, Virginia.
Photo by Megan V. Winslow Pilot Henry Rosenbaum’s balloon, center, holds 60,000 cubic feet of air, the equivalent of 401,083 NFL footballs. Rosenbaum is from Mechanicsville, Virginia.
Nita Dillbeck, from left, Nita's husband Ricky Dillbeck and Brian Chase of Cartoon Balloons of Orlando unfold a Slyvester the cat balloon before the start of the festival.
Photo by Megan V. Winslow Nita Dillbeck, from left, Nita’s husband Ricky Dillbeck and Brian Chase of Cartoon Balloons of Orlando unfold a Sylvester the cat balloon before the start of the festival.
Patrick Fogue, a balloon pilot from Missouri, blows propane into his balloon to right it.
Photo by Megan V. Winslow Patrick Fogue, a balloon pilot from Missouri, blows propane into his balloon to right it.
Pilot Patrick Fogue brought his balloon from Missouri to the festival.
Photo by Megan V. Winslow Pilot Patrick Fogue brought his balloon from Missouri to the festival.
Festival attendees listened to live rock and roll music and danced among lasers and mist generated from a fog machine.
Photo by Megan V. Winslow Festival attendees listened to live rock and roll music and danced among lasers and mist generated from a fog machine.
Brian R. Chase of Cartoon Balloons of Orlando unfolds a Sylvester the cat balloon.
Photo by Megan V. Winslow Brian R. Chase of Cartoon Balloons of Orlando unfolds a Sylvester the cat balloon.

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FollowTheScience

Maybe not Mainstreet News goal, but it would have been nice to read about this before the event. Too late to go now.

Ann Firpi

You did not miss anything special. We spent $140 and saw no laser show, or any hot air balloons go up. They did not waste any time taking the balloons down when a few raindrops came down. If you want to really go next time, buy the ticket at the gate. There were no lines.

Sibet Grantham

Great expressive photos of a colorful event. Thanks