By KAITLYN NAPLES
The Balloons over Bristol are making a comeback, except this year they’ll be visiting on Memorial Day weekend, rather than during the annual Chrysanthemum Festival.
Co-Chair of the Mum Festival Committee, Elliot Nelson, said having the balloons at the Mum Festival was successful. However, the committee felt it would be better to bring the balloons in on Memorial Day weekend so it can focus on other events during the Mum Festival.
“We figured we’d bring the balloons back to the weekend they originally came,” when the event was sponsored by the Bristol Jaycees, Nelson said.
The balloons are expected to arrive at Memorial Boulevard School on Saturday, May 25 and stay until Sunday, May 26. Nelson said the committee decided to leave Memorial Day on Monday for the veterans since they usually have different events planned, like the parade.
There will be a balloon glow on Saturday evening at dusk, and there will be two lift-offs, one at 6 a.m. on Sunday, and one at 6 p.m. The committee also has scheduled tethered balloon rides, for $5, from 4 to 6 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday. The proceeds from the tethered rides will go towards the food pantry at Zion Lutheran Church.
Nelson added that there will be activities for the children to participate in, like collecting “baseball type cards,” one designated to each balloon with a picture of the balloon and information about the owner.
Also, he said the committee has scheduled the 94th Army Band to perform on Saturday from 3 to5 p.m., and is trying to get the Bristol Brass and Wind Ensemble to perform as well. He added that he is working with the Bristol Auto Club to have a car show on Willis Street Extension, but the club still needs to approve this.
“We’ll see how it goes,” Nelson said, adding that the Balloons over Bristol event will be run the same way it was during the Mum Festival, just on a different weekend.
After a decade-long absence, the Mum Festival Committee was able to bring Balloons over Bristol back to the city. The hot air balloons used to make an appearance at the Mum Festival for about 10 years. Eventually, due to damage to the fields and lack of funding, the balloons didn’t return.
Last year, Nelson said the balloon event was “well attended” and added that he is hoping for the same on Memorial Day weekend.
Comments? Email knaples@BristolObserver. com.