Balloons Over Sussex to be Held this Weekend - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Balloons Over Sussex to be Held this Weekend

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GEORGETOWN, Del. - Sussex County will have a hot air balloon festival for the first time in more than a decade. Balloons Over Sussex takes place on Saturday and Sunday behind the Delaware Coastal Airport. 

Balloonist and Dr. Charles Wagner started the hot air balloon festival in 1990. For thirteen years the event brought balloons to hover over the field by his office in Milton. "It just got to be overwhelming," he explains. "We sort of burned out our volunteers."

Wagner is helping Sussex Academy bring the balloons back to Sussex County. This time 16 hot air balloons will float behind the airport in Georgetown. 

"Georgetown is ideal," says Wagner. "We get more flying area. We have more room to fly east to west."

Wagner explains that the balloons do have a weight limit, but most can carry three to four people plus a pilot. 

Sussex Academy Director of Development Gina Derrickson says that in addition to rides, the festival will feature an entertainment tent, balloon glow, and balloon walk-about. "A hot air balloon will be blown up and put on its side and you'll be able to walk through it," she explains. "The balloon glow, it's a show. They light up and they blink and it goes to music and they're all glowing in the sky at one time."

Derrickson says the festival will help Sussex Academy pay for two new science labs. "We're a charter school and we don't receive capital funding," she says. "Our idea of fundraising has always changed. We want to do big events that involve the whole community."

The gates will open up at 2 p.m. each day, weather permitting. "These are big balloons," says Wagner. "They're 80' x 80' and you can't just put them up in the wind."

Additional sunrise balloon rides will take place on Sunday morning. To sign up or learn more about the festival, click here

Even though Wagner hasn't held the festival himself since the early 2000's, he's still very involved in the hot air balloon community.  "We still fly," he says. "If we can get balloons to come in and do a flight out of Georgetown and do the glow, it's just a great event and people love to see balloons."

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