Monday, August 29, 2011

Plano Balloon Festival

Location: Oak Point Park, 2801 E. Spring Creek Parkway, Plano, TX Map It!!

If I could sum it up in one sentence: The Plano Balloon Festival is a must-see family event in the Dallas area, the sight of these balloons is just amazing!

And here's the sKoop. . .

Before I give my skoop, here are a few details from the actual website "This year mark’s 32 years of Ballooning in Plano, Texas. Join in the Celebration at the InTouch Credit Union Plano Balloon Festival, a spectacular three-day event beginning at 4:00pm Friday, September 16th at Oak Point Park, 2801 E. Spring Creek Parkway, Plano, TX 75074. This weekend event offers something for everyone; entertainment on the FOX 4 community stage and KLUV main stage, Saturday evening spectacular fireworks show, special kids activities, sky divers, an enormous variety of food to tempt your taste buds, merchandise and handmade products showcased, and of course the incredible hot air balloons. The balloons will launch Friday at 6:00pm, Saturday at 7:00am and 6:00pm, and Sunday at 7:00am and 6:00pm (weather permitting)."

We have attended this 4 times now out of the 5 years we've lived here. That's how much we love this! The only time we missed was last year(and thats because I had just given birth!) This years, as mentioned above is September 16, 17 & 18th, so its just around the corner! The site of the balloons is truly magnificent! If you haven't been, you need to go and check it out. We usually go on the Saturday evening around 5pm so that we can catch the parachute team(don't want to miss that) before the actual Balloon Launch at 6pm. And then you HAVE to stay for the balloon glow. They bring all of the balloons back after their flight and light em up as its getting dark outside. If the weather isn't windy, you may even be lucky enough to get to walk around on the actual field with the balloons. Two years ago we were able to and it was so awesome to be up close to them like that while the flames were going. I'll never forget that night! And if our kids are still happy, we even stay for the fireworks at 9pm.

Tickets for admission are $5(if you go between the hours of 9am and 3pm, they are discounted at $4.) Kids under 3 ft tall are FREE (but honestly, they've never charge us for a kid under like the age of 5 ever, so you might get lucky even if your kid is taller:) Have as many kids sit in strollers as that dishonest? lol. Bring chairs, blankets & a stroller if you need one.

A note about parking: You can park offsite for $5 or onsite for $10. PAY THE EXTRA FIVE BUCKS AND PARK PRIME! Or you will seriously be walking miles. I mean, if you love to walk in the heat of the Dallas summer toting your kids and your gear while you want to die, then by all means do it. Cheap out. But for us, it is sooo worth paying the extra money to be up close. Even with prime parking, you still gotta good walk! Also note to give yourself extra time to arrive and actually get there and seated. The traffic in the area is crazy when the festival is going on. Bumper to bumper sometimes just to get parked. So allow an extra half hour when you go to be on the safe side(you don't want to miss something!) and plan accordingly, that includes the traffic, parking & walking.

There are kids activities, shows, music & food but honestly the area where that is all going on is pretty crowded so we don't hang out over there too long. Its kinda madness. We do enjoy watching the Elvis impersonator dude though. He is just plain awesome:)

mysKoop TIPS: Bring the BEST camera you own for some spectacular photos! My husband has gotten some beautiful shots. Bring snacks and drinks(water is a must!). Pack a dinner if you want to save some money-there are lots of vendors with food like corn dogs, bbq sandwiches, overpriced carnival-style food but we usually either eat dinner before we go or pack lots of food. But we do at least buy a couple of funnel cakes because, well, we just loooove funnel cakes :) And like I said above, the prime parking is worth the extra five dollars. I promise. Do it. And thank me later.

kidsKoop: Aubrey, age 9,"I love it when we go and see the balloons. That one time we were able to run around in the middle of them was awesome!"

hubsKoop: "Awesome photo ops. The balloon festival is something we definitely look forward to every year."

And finally here are pics from a few of our visits. I couldn't narrow them down to only 3 or 4! I've included balloon launch, parachuting, balloon glow(a little blurry but you can see we were right there on the field with them!) & the Elvis dude. He just cracks us up. Enjoy...

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