The variety of entertainment for all ages make the South County Balloon Festival one of Rhode Island’s most popular summer events. Glowing hot air balloons and Rhode Island’s own Roomful of Blues are on tap for the 40th South County Balloon Festival, July 20-22, at the URI Athletic Fields on Route 138 in Kingston.
Roomful of Blues will play its danceable blend of blues, swing, and rock while balloons light up the sky. The balloon glows, set against the darkening sky, are set for both Friday and Saturday nights. Balloonists will offer tethered rides for adventurous festival-goers who want to see the action from 100 feet overhead for $20.
The Flying Cortes family will perform their exciting trapeze tricks frequently all three days, as will Bwana Jim, whose wildlife show features huge snakes, lizards, raptors and other not-so-cuddly creatures.
All balloon events are dependent on weather conditions – winds must be less than 10 mph – but organizers are expecting the balloons to inflate at dawn Saturday and Sunday, between 6 and 8 a.m., and at dusk Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, between 7 and 9 p.m. Hot air balloons are ONLY visible during those times if wind and weather cooperate.
Other highlights of the festival include carnival rides and games, a rock-climbing wall, car show face painting, arts and crafts, and a range of food vendors, including ever-popular barbecue. Children love the Rotary Club’s free fishing pond, inflatable bounce houses, and train rides.
Festival hours are Friday, 4 to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Parking is free. RV camping is available on site.
The Rotary Club of Wakefield donates all net proceeds to local charities.