Visitors take to the sky at Callaway Garden’s annual hot air balloon festival

Published 6:00 pm Monday, September 2, 2019

Hundreds flocked to Callaway Gardens over the Labor Day weekend to take flight to the sky for the annual hot air balloon festival. 

One local said he came to the festival and car show decades ago and that’s where he met his wife. 

“We had met and immediately connected,” said Richard Fenter. “We stayed in touch but after a while did our own things and got married to other people. But after we were both divorced, we connected again and have been married ever since.” 

Fenter said now he and his wife, Peggy, visit the festival every year to remanence on the day they met. 

Lines stretched across the field Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Callaway Gardens while people waited to take a tethered ride hundreds of feet in the air in one of the many hot air balloons. 

Traditionally, to finish off the festival, the hot air balloon pilots take to the sky at dusk and light up their balloon with a torch, but to due to weather conditions it was canceled. 

Before stormy weather hit the area, many were still able to take part in all of the weekend festivities, including the classic car show that overlooks the festival. 

“This is the biggest car show we have in this area,” Billy Adams said. “The car group is really close and the people that come are always interested in this as well as the hot air balloon festival.  It is always just a good day and good show.”