Balloons and fun fill sky

Published 6:55 pm Sunday, September 3, 2017

Callaway Gardens closed out its summer with the 19th annual Sky High Hot Air Balloon Festival this weekend.

Along with a classic car show held on Saturday, the event featured tethered hot air balloon rides. Director of Gardens Experiences Rachel Crumbley said the rides have been a popular attraction through the years.

“Callaway Gardens continues to do this event because it is so popular with guests. It’s one of our most popular events, and it’s just a great way to end the summer on a high note,” Crumbley said. “We love having something guests are so enamored with.”

According to Crumbley, the event brings people to Callaway Gardens from other parts of the state and Florida.

“From its birth, [the event has] become a consistent thing for Callaway Gardens,” she said.

First-time rider, William Whisnant, said he came back with his family from his tour in Germany to experience the balloon rides.

“We’re stationed in Germany, for a while, and we looked ahead to the schedule to find this for something we could do when we were back in town,” Whistnant said. “We were pretty excited about coming back to LaGrange and seeing everybody. This was one of those things. When I was growing up, I saw it every year, but I was never able to go and do it.”

Whisnant said his family enjoyed their ride.

“It’s the weightlessness, and you’re up and you’re not in a harness, but you’re up above everything, just kind of floating along, is pretty remarkable,” he said.

Because balloon rides are dependent on weather, the event is also educational, Crumbley said.

“We’re committed to environmental education, so what a better way to teach [guests] about wind and how it affects the day and ballooning,” she said.

Crumbley recommends the event to everyone.