Balloons fill Walla Walla skies for weekend rally

Herald staffMay 1, 2014 

A swath of colorful hot air balloons will land in Walla Walla this weekend as part of the city's annual Walla Walla Balloon Stampede festival.

The balloons will launch at 6 a.m. each morning May 8-11, weather permitting, from Garrison Middle School field, 906 Chase St. in Walla Walla.

The balloon stampede, which is paid for by Gesa Credit Union, is celebrating its 40th anniversary by returning one of the lift-offs May 8 to Howard/Tietan Park, 616 E. Tietan St., where the stampede initially began in 1974.

May 9 festivities include the launch of balloons at 6 a.m. from Garrison Middle school, followed by daylong activities, arts and craft booths.

After the balloons launch at 6 a.m. May 10, there will be a spectacular show of color at the night glow, which starts at dusk on the Walla Walla Community College campus, 500 Tausick Way.

The night glow features about 30 hot air balloons filling up after the sun goes down and are then lit-up from the inside.

Visitors are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets for viewing but should be ready to move quickly when balloons start to inflate. Visitors also should leave their pets at home because the high pitch sounds emitted by the balloon burners can be painful to their ears.

The mornings are expected to be cool, so dress warmly and layers are recommended because the temperatures for the weekend are expected to be in the 70s.

There is no admission to any events at the Walla Walla Balloon Stampede. More information is at www.wallawallaballoonstampede.com.

-- Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; doneal@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @dorioneal

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