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The Macomb Balloon Rally celebrates its 35th anniversary

MACOMB, IL (WGEM) – The Macomb Balloon Rally will celebrate its 35th anniversary next month, which families can participate in for free.

According to organizers, 22 hot air balloons flown by pilots from across Illinois will be part of this year’s pirate-themed event.

Events will begin Friday, September 9 with a 6 p.m. mass ascension balloon launch from Western Illinois University’s Vince Grady Field. Prior to launch, beginning at 5:30 p.m., WIU’s Jazz Studio Orchestra will perform on the grounds.

The hot air balloons will take off again around 6:45 a.m. Saturday as pilots attempt to hit targets placed around the city. Pilots will be back in the air around 6 p.m. Saturday with another competitive flight.

Shortly after the balloons touch down, pilots will line up on Vince Grady Field and light their balloons against the night sky with the popular balloon glow, beginning at approximately 7:30 p.m. The group “The Leftovers” will perform on Vince Grady Field during the evening flight and glow.

T-shirts will be on sale at the field tent and food vendors will be set up Friday and Saturday nights at the Vince Grady field.

All events are weather dependent.

For more information on the Macomb Balloon Rally, or the status of each flight, visit

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