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Quechee Balloon Festival - The Longest-running Hot-air Balloon Festival in New England is Just Days Away

Jun 07, 2023 07:38PM ● By Virginia Dean
The longest-running hot-air balloon festival in New England is just days away and will feature more than 15 hot-air balloons with five flights scheduled throughout the festival and additional tethered rides during the day. The official date of the festival is June 16 to 18. Continuous music and entertainment can be enjoyed by all ages, plus over 50 craft artisans and commercial vendors. Several interactive activities will be available in the Free Kids Zone. There will be festival food with local healthy options and a beer and wine garden.

Gates will open at 3 pm on June 16 with Gerry Grimo & East Bay Jazz, a musical ensemble whose style is reminiscent of the classic dance and show bands of the mid-20th century. At 5 pm the Vermont Institute of Natural Science will present live falcons, hawks, and owls—a firsthand encounter that will enable participants to understand the defining characteristics that make a bird a raptor and their adaptations for life as a predator on the wing. Touchable artifacts and hands-on materials round out this special experience. At 6pm visitors can enjoy Carols Ocasio & Frydaddy, a spicy gumbo of rockin’ soul in the Upper valley for nearly 30 years. At the same time, the evening ascension will take place with more than 20 balloons. To end the day, see the festival light up with the Balloon Glow starting at dusk (wind and weather permitting).

On Saturday at 6am, there will be a morning balloon ascension followed at 10am by Pups in the Air with some of the country’s top award-winning freestyle disc dogs performing amazing athletic moves. From 10am 12pm there will be a demonstration by the Skyhigh Sky Diving team, and at 10:30am visitors can enjoy the music of Rob Oxford & Americana’s Most Wanted. Comedy magician Robert Clarke will perform his interactive and jaw-dropping act at noon, and at 1pm singer-songwriter Alison Turner will perform a heartfelt and unique style of alternative/indie pop. Robert Clarke will do a follow-up at 2pm, and at 2:30pm Pups in the Air will perform again followed by fiddle player Ida Mae Specker at 3:30pm. At 5pm, the professional and student dancers the Raq-ettes will perform, followed by Celtic rock group Prydein at 6pm. The evening balloon ascension will also take place at 6pm, followed by the Balloon Glow at dusk.

Gates open at 6am Sunday with the morning balloon ascension. At 10am, Pups in the Air will perform, with a Skyhigh Skydiving demonstration from 10am to 12 pm. Singers and songwriters Patti Casey and Tom MacKenzie of Shady Rill can be heard at 11am. Robert Clarke will be performing at 12:30 and 3pm, with Pups in the Air at 2pm. At 1:30pm the musical group the Outcrops will perform, and at 4pm African musical group Mamadou will perform original songs and arrangements. The day ends at 6pm with an evening balloon ascension.

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