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Hot air balloon festival to take flight this weekend

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The skies over south Alabama may be a lot more colorful starting today.

The 18th annual Gulf Coast Hot Air Balloon Festival will take place in Foley today and tomorrow. The event will feature live music, a petting zoo, and opportunities to meet the people who pilot the balloons. The festival will feature 60 balloonists, which is the most ever for the event.

Donna Watts is the CEO of the South Baldwin Chamber of Commerce. She says the weather conditions have to be nearly perfect for the balloons to take off.

"Balloons fly early in the morning within two hours of sunrise and late in the evening within two hours of sunset. That’s when the winds are the calmest," she said. "They do not fly in the middle of the day because we’re so close to the coast, the winds are unpredictable.

Watts said this year’s festival will include activities for the crowd to enjoy.

"The live music, the meet and greets with the pilots, we have arts and crafts, lots of them, and food booths. Just a good time for everybody and of course entertainment on the stage all day," she said.

The Alabama Department of Tourism named the Balloon Festival the event of the year in 2021.

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