Gulf Coast Balloon Festival Comes to OWA

FOLEY, Ala. (WKRG) – The 18th annual Gulf Coast Hot Air Balloon Festival will take place in OWA on May 13, 14 and 15. The South Baldwin County Chamber of Commerce announced the entertainment lineup on Wednesday.

WKRG News 5 chief meteorologist Ed Bloodsworth sat down with balloon expert Tommy Rachel. Rachel has been a hot air balloon crew member and pilot for 26 years. Enjoy the video as Rachel explains how to make balloons work and talks about the festival.

Program of activities of the Gulf Coast Hot Air Balloon Festival:

Thursday May 12

  • 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. – Festival open to the public
  • 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. – Yes, probably
  • 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. – The Tip Tops
  • 7:30 p.m. – Balloon Glow begins

Friday May 13

  • 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. – Festival open to the public
  • 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. – Gypsy Spark
  • 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. – Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo at Meet and Greet Tent
  • 1:15 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. – Preview of the legends
  • 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. – Jenna McClelland
  • 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. – Interactive hot air balloon show (weather permitting)
  • 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. – Hot air balloon pilots at the Meet and Greet tent
  • 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. – South Approach
  • 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. – Miss Alabama, Lauren Bradford at Meet and Greet Tent
  • 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. – 56 Low
  • 7:30 PM – Captive rides and balloon glow start (weather permitting)
  • 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. – Miles Flatt Band

Saturday May 14

  • 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. – Festival open to the public
  • 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. – Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo at Meet and Greet Tent
  • 11:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. – Legends Preview and National Anthem
  • 12:00 p.m. to 12:45 p.m. – Poarch Creek Pow Wow Club and Tribal Dancers
  • 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. – Mario Mena Band
  • 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. – Interactive hot air balloon show (weather permitting)
  • 2:30 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. – Preview of the Legends
  • 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. – Hot air balloon pilots at the Meet and Greet tent
  • 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. – DJ Tim Brown
  • 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. – Kirk Jay
  • 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. – Miss Alabama, Lauren Bradford at Meet and Greet Tent
  • 7:30 PM – Captive rides and balloon glow start (weather permitting)
  • 7:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. – Velcro Pygmies

Festival-goers can also take advantage of arts and crafts vendors, children’s activities, hot air balloon rides, and shows at the OWA Island Amphitheater all weekend long.

To help people get to the Festival, three off-site shuttle locations will be available. The shuttles run from 2 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday, from noon to 11 p.m. on Saturday. Shuttles are available to Tanger Outlets, Liberty Church and Irwin Square.

Organizers note that the weather can impact when and where hot air balloons can fly. Schedules may be delayed.