Hot-air balloon fest set to begin tomorrow

2-day pre-Preakness event to include activities for kids

May 14, 2008

Turf Valley Resort will host a hot-air balloon festival and other activities leading up to the Preakness, the second leg of thoroughbred horse racing's Triple Crown.

The two-day event, which will start at 2 p.m. tomorrow, 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, and walk-throughs. All events are free except for the balloon rides, which will cost $15 for tethered rides and $200 for untethered ones.

Balloon launches are scheduled for 6:30 p.m. tomorrow, 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:

Tomorrow

*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

Information: www.ballooningusa.com/preakness2008, or 410- 465-1500, Ext. 2874.

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