Plano balloon festival

This weekend, the skies will once again be dotted with the colorful balloons launching from the InTouch Credit Union Plano Balloon Festival at Oak Point Park, which celebrates 40 years this time around.

Last year, flash flooding forced festival officials to cancel the event for the first time in its history.

Floodwaters that came in the weekend of the scheduled event rushed through Oak Point Park, washing away vendor booths, plastic tubs, printed materials, “whatever (vendors) were planning to sell,” festival director Jo Via said at the time. “It just washed it all away.”

Rescheduling the festival wasn’t a possibility since parts of the park remained underwater, and vendors were preparing for the State Fair of Texas, which began the following weekend.

So this year’s event will be a chance to double down on the celebration.

The three-day event full of aerial displays, musical entertainment, food from local vendors and more will open at 4 p.m. Friday. The festival will be open until 10 p.m. Friday, then from 6 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday, and from 6 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday.

Tethered rides will be available this year for a balloon ride 20-30 feet above the ground. Sales will be offered Friday evening, Saturday morning and evening, and Sunday morning and evening, weather permitting.

ITCU will host a full interactive experience near the entrance with prizes and games.

“With a theme of ‘Celebrating 40 Years of Ballooning,’ want to bring a fun and interactive experience to this year’s festival for both long-term members and first-time guests alike,” ITCU Executive Vice President Diane Gerstner said.

The crowning glory of the weekend is the balloon glow on both Friday and Saturday evenings at 8 p.m. where balloons are inflated and stay on the ground. Fireworks will also light the night sky at 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Oak Point Park is located at 2801 E. Spring Creek Parkway. Tickets will be available at the gates all weekend or at ITCU branches.

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