March 6, 2019

Hot Air Balloon Festival in Fayetteville This Fall

A new hot air balloon festival is coming to Fayetteville this summer.

The event, titled Soar NWA, is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 24, and will feature a variety of hot air balloon activities (weather permitting), kids play area, beer garden, live music and various other aeronautics activities.

The event is a fundraiser for Open Avenues, a local organization that works to provide life and job skills training, paid work opportunities, community employment, and transportation for people with disabilities living in Northwest Arkansas.

Development director Maddie Hernandez said Open Avenues wanted to come up with a fun, unique event to help raise funds for the organization.

“Our development team was tasked to come up with a fundraiser idea that would stand out,” Hernandez said. “We wanted something special and affordable that the general public and community wouldn’t want to miss. We just got creative, and funny enough our office manager’s brother is a Balloonist and with his experience and help we came up with the idea for SOAR NWA.”

As far as hot air balloon activities, the event plans to offer tethered balloon rides, a “balloon glow” to light the Drake Field grounds in the evening, and special balloon rides for sponsors, among other activities.

All of the balloon activities, of course, are subject to good weather.

“The first thing you learn about planning anything to do with Hot Air Balloons is to use the word “Weather permitting” like it’s your job,” Hernandez said. “Hot Air Balloons are very fickle when it comes to weather, and it has to be just right in order for them to get off the ground, which is one of the reasons we are having a variety of other activities for the public to enjoy.”

In addition to the balloon activities, the event will also feature a vendor fair, food trucks, live music and guest speakers, including a “larger musical act” to be announced soon.

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Skydive Fayetteville will also be on hand offering an opportunity for thrill seekers to skydive at the event. Hernandez says sign-ups for this portion of the event will also be available soon via the event website.

A full event schedule, featuring the musical lineup and more will be released soon.

Folks who’d like to get involved with the event as vendors can apply here, and organizers are seeking volunteers to help put on the event as well.

Tickets to Soar NWA are $10 for adults, $5 for children, and a $40 “family pack is also available. To purchase, visit the Eventbrite page.

All of the proceeds from the event will benefit Open Avenues.

“We’ve been around for 43 years because our service is so vital to this community. Not only are we providing our program participants with training and a paycheck, but we’re also providing them with the dignity of work that gives them an invaluable sense of belonging and purpose,” Hernandez said. “We love to give tours if anyone is interested in checking us out firsthand.”

Cover Photo: Nicolas Raymond, C.C. 2.0

Fayetteville Flyer - Dustin Bartholomew

Dustin Bartholomew is the co-founder of Fayetteville Flyer, an online publication covering all things news, art and life in Fayetteville, Arkansas since 2007. A graduate of the Department of English at the University of Arkansas and a lifelong resident of the area, he still lives in east Fayetteville with his son Hudson, daughter Evelyn, his wife Brandy, and his two dogs Lily and Steve. On occasion, he tickles the ivories in a local band called The Good Fear.

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