Balloonfest file art

Pictured are balloons taking off from Freer Field in 2015. 

ASHLAND — On Saturday evening and Sunday morning, Ashland residents will be able to watch a colorful display of hot air balloons float overtop the city -- likely from their own front yards. 

The 29th ½ Ashland BalloonFest Flyover is set for this weekend in lieu of traditional Ashland BalloonFest festivities, which were canceled earlier this year due to COVID-19 concerns. 

Seventeen pilots are set to take off from various locations between 6:45 and 7 p.m. Saturday and again between 7 and 8 a.m. Sunday. 

“This shows great support for our event. Normally, the pilots are coming and have some competition flights, but this is just to support the event and the community,” the event planning committee's president Mindi White said. 

The event typically draws between 22 to 25 pilots from Ohio and surrounding states. 

White asked the community to watch the Ashland BalloonFest’s Facebook page for additional details on this weekend’s flights. How and where the balloons can fly depends on the direction of the wind, she explained. 

Pilots will meet shortly before 6 p.m. Saturday, and information will be posted to Facebook directly afterwards. 

“Our goal is to get them in the air to go across the city, and we’re trying to spread them out so there’s not a mass gathering,” White said. “Instead we’ll have them going over the city, and you can watch from your yard.” 

Beginning Thursday, the community can also watch social media for a chance to win daily prizes. The BalloonFest planning committee will hold a “spirit week” Thursday through Sunday. 

The committee encourages Facebook users to post about BalloonFest and will give away $20 gift cards each day to local businesses to two of their favorite posts each day. 

There will also be a grand prize at the end of the week for the committee’s collective favorite two posts from the week. The first place winner will receive $150 cash. The second place winner will receive $50 cash.

Additionally, BalloonFest t-shirts are being sold through Superior Merch. 

The traditional Ashland BalloonFest will resume June 24 through 27, 2021 as the 30th annual event.

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