By Joe Bailey
Last weekend, the Chattanooga Balloon Festival kicked off November with its fleet of hot air balloons lighting up the crisp night air.
Friday Nov. 1 and Saturday Nov. 2 marked the citys first balloon festival of this scale, as the 13 balloons, erected at Riverpark by Chattanooga State Community College, attracted an estimated 10,000 attendees on the second night alone.
Lines of hundreds formed for the opportunity to hitch a ride on one of the precarious and unconventional flying machines, but balloons werent the only attraction on offer. Along with rows of local vendors and food trucks, carnival rides, a dance floor, and a giant glowing ferris wheel occupied the remaining corners of the venue. Normal entry was $10.
The events director, Jeremy Kwaterski, said that this festival is one of many that his company has organized across the southeast.
From 2008 until now, weve had almost one festival per year, Kwaterski said. Its in Chattanooga this year. Were from Rome, Georgia, so were not far. We did some research, and I think the last time the city had any kind of event with multiple hot air balloons was the in the early 1980s., and that was a pretty small thing, ...