Hot air balloons in Preakness festival

May 11, 2008

For the second year in a row, Turf Valley Resort is hosting a hot air balloon festival and other activities in the days leading up to the Preakness, the second leg of thoroughbred horse racing's Triple Crown.

The two-day event starts at 2 p.m. Thursday and will include the Hot Air Balloon Festival, and a Pee-Wee Preakness with competitions for children such as three-legged races, face-painting and appearances from characters such as Bob the VidTech. There also will be more than 50 vendors at the event.

Balloon-related activities will include tethered and untethered rides, as well as walk-throughs. All events are free, except for the balloon rides, which will cost $15 for tethered rides and $200 for untethered ones.

Four balloon launches are scheduled: 6:30 p.m. Thursday; 6:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Friday and 6:30 a.m. Saturday.

Vehicle access at Turf Valley for the afternoon and evening activities will be by parking pass or handicapped designation only. Satellite parking will be available at the Howard County Fairgrounds, 2210 Fairgrounds Road, in West Friendship. A donation of $5 per vehicle for parking will benefit the Elkridge Adult Athletic Association. Shuttle buses will be available starting at 2 p.m. each day and run throughout the evening.

Some of the events highlights include: Thursday

2 p.m. Vendor exhibits open

3 p.m. and 5 p.m. -- Pee-Wee Preakness

6:30 p.m. -- Balloon launch

8:30 p.m. -- Balloon glow Friday

6:30 a.m. -- Balloon launch

2 p.m. -- Vendor exhibits open

2:30 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 7 p.m. -- Pee-Wee Preakness

6:30 p.m. -- Balloon launch

8:30 p.m. -- Balloon glow Saturday

6:30 a.m. -- Balloon launch

For more information, go to www.ballooningusa.com/preakness2008 or call the event hotline, 410- 465-1500, ext. 2874.

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