Balloons rise over Foley during 17th Gulf Coast Hot Air Balloon Festival

By Jessica Vaughn
Posted 5/18/21

FOLEY - The 17th Gulf Coast Hot Air Balloon Festival, hosted by the South Baldwin Chamber of Commerce, returned this year after canceling in 2020 due to COVID-19. For the first time in the event’s …

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Balloons rise over Foley during 17th Gulf Coast Hot Air Balloon Festival

Posted

FOLEY - The 17th Gulf Coast Hot Air Balloon Festival, hosted by the South Baldwin Chamber of Commerce, returned this year after canceling in 2020 due to COVID-19. For the first time in the event’s history it took place at a new location, setting up at OWA for the extended three-day festival. The new location was chosen due to the growth the event has experienced over the years, drawing in not only more and more visitors, but participating balloonists. This year saw over 50 pilots and crews come out to take advantage of the beautiful weather and take to the skies above Foley.

“I love flying, whether it’s balloons or planes,” said balloon pilot Scott Wooge, who hails from St. Louis, Missouri. “There’s something special about ballooning. It’s a team sport, you can’t do it without your crew … It’s fun to accomplish something as a team.”

This year marked the first time the balloons were able to fly since the 2018 event, as balloons are only able to fly wind and weather permitting. Those out and about on Saturday, May 8 were able to spot balloons as they soared through the skies. Down on the ground, the festival grounds offered booths from local arts and crafts vendors, children’s activities, tethered balloon rides at dusk, balloon glows, live music, and much more.

Sabrina Steuber of Huntsville, Alabama created the official 2021 poster. Steuber has submitted art for two years in a row, and her artwork has been selected as the contest winner both times.

Keep an eye on www.gulfcoastballoonfestival.com or visitowa.com for information on the 2022 Gulf Coast Hot Air Balloon Festival. Also check out www.southbaldwinchamber.com for information on upcoming chamber events and member information.