Allison Transmission Balloon Festival
Saturday May 7, 2011
Gates 12:00 p.m. - 10 p.m.
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The “Hare and Hound” balloon race will take off from the IMS grounds at 7:30 a.m./ET. Although the Speedway’s infield will be closed due to the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon, fans can watch the balloons ascend from numerous points around the facility.
The “Hare” balloon will take to the sky first, flying approximately 15 minutes in front of the other balloons. The Hare balloon will fly to an appropriate landing spot where a race official will place an “X” target on the ground. The “Hound” balloons – the rest of the field – attempt to navigate to the Hare’s landing site and drop a 2-ounce bean bag closest to the center of the “X.”
The winner is the pilot who drops a bean bag closest to the center of the “X.” Balloons reach an altitude of 1,000 to 2,000 feet during races, but pilots will attempt to descend as close to the target as possible when dropping the bean bag. One of the feature attractions of this year's Balloon Festival will be an appearance by the Energizer Bunny Hot "Hare" Balloon, which is the tallest hot air balloon in the country -- and, who knows, maybe the world. It towers 15 feet over the Statue of Liberty and weighs half a ton.
One of the feature attractions of this year’s Balloon Festival will be an appearance by the Energizer Bunny Hot “Hare” Balloon, which is the tallest hot air balloon in the country – and, who knows, maybe the world. It towers 15 feet over the Statue of Liberty and weighs half a ton.
Later that evening the Allison Transmission Balloon Festival Balloon Glow will take place at 6:00 p.m./ET. A balloon glow is designed around inflated, tethered hot-air balloons using their burners to light the colorful balloons, similar to a candle. The balloons remain on the ground throughout glows, and the general public is welcome to walk around the balloons and talk to the pilots and crew. The evening will be capped off by live music throughout the evening and a fireworks display. Admission and infield parking are free to the public.