Up Up and Away Festival 2020

Photo: Pexels/Pixabay.com

If you happen to be in Lakeland, FL this weekend (February 28 – March 1, 2020), you have to check out the Up Up and Away Festival. On Friday, February 28th the hot air balloon festival will happen, rain or shine. If you have family with you, bring the kiddos along so they can experience all the festival has to offer as well. 

The Up Up and Away Florida Hot Air Balloon Festival will be held this year at the SUN ‘n FUN Expo Campus located at 4175 Medulla Rd. It will run over the course of three days on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, February 28, 29 and March 1. The event sees entries from across the country for this three-day festival that features picturesque landscapes and hot air balloon fun.

The festival will host tethered balloon rides, a kids zone, arts and craft vendors, local eateries and treats, beer and mimosa garden, archery tag, flyout and helicopter rides. Award-winning guitarist, songwriter, producer and bandleader Rico Monaco, featuring special guest and Billboard Music Award winner Tito Puente Jr., will headline each day, along with other local acts such as Audio Exchange and the Tracey Coryell Duo.

For additional family entertainment throughout the three-day weekend Shania the Aerialist will defy gravity and dance in the air. On Pointe Dance Academy will perform a stunning routine on February 29th at the festival. Guests attending the event can also take advantage and stay on-site for an extended weekend of Rv or tent camping at the campgrounds at SUN ‘n FUN. You and the family will be only feet away from all the attractions at the venue.

Up Up and Away Florida is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit hot air balloon festival that is dedicated to producing a family-oriented, high-quality event that offers other local non-profits an opportunity to assist in the operations of the festival. It is an educational and community exposition for the citizens and visitors of Florida. The event is meant to inspire pride in the local area and get the locals involved in the community as much as possible.

You may buy tickets at the Up Up and Away Florida Eventbrite page. For more information on the event, please visit the Up Up and Away Florida website.

One-day passes are $15 per day. Weekend passes are $20 and are only available online until Tuesday, February 25. Children under age 12 get free admission. Tethered rides will be $20 per person and go up 20-30 feet in the air. Riders must be over 36 inches tall. All balloon activities are weather permitting.

How a hot air balloon works

A hot air balloon is a light aircraft consisting of a bag (called an envelope) which contains heated air. Beneath the bag is a suspended gondola or wicker basket which carries one or more passengers inside. The source of heat inside the bag in most cases causes an open flame caused by burning liquid propane. 

The heated air inside the envelope makes it buoyant (able to float) since it has a lower density than the colder air outside the envelope. The envelope does not have to be sealed from the bottom. The air inside the envelope there is at about the same pressure as the surrounding air. 

A balloon is fueled by flames. Photo: Jason7825/Wikimedia.org

Modern balloons have been made in all kinds of shapes. Rocket ships are used for most non-commercial, and many commercial, applications. Hot air balloons that can be propelled through the air rather than simply drifting with the wind are known as thermal airships. 

The hot air balloon is the first successful human-carrying flight technology.