Walla Walla Balloon Stampede festival begins Friday

Tri-City HeraldMay 8, 2014 

About 30 vibrantly colored hot air balloons will drop into Walla Walla from Friday through Sunday as part of the city's annual Walla Walla Balloon Stampede festival.

But a cold front moving into the region will likely force many them to stay tethered to the ground, festival organizers said Thursday.

The National Weather Service is calling for some rain, wind and cooler temperatures. And balloonists cannot launch if it's raining or winds are more than 7 mph.

Depending on the weather, the balloons are scheduled to launch at 6 a.m. each morning from Garrison Middle School field, 906 Chase St.

The balloon stampede, sponsored by Gesa Credit Union, is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.

On Saturday, the balloons hope to launch again at 6 a.m. at the middle school, followed in the evening by a spectacular show of color at the night glow starting at dusk on the campus at Walla Walla Community College, 500 Tausick Way.

The night glow is when the tethered balloons are inflated after the sun goes down and they are lit up from the inside.

Visitors are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets for viewing. Dogs are not allowed because the high-pitched sounds emitted by the balloon burners can be painful to their ears.

All the events are free. More information at www.wallawallaballoonstampede.com.

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