Kingsport, TN

Fun Fest Balloon Rally Continues to Please Crowds Saturday Morning in Kingsport

John M. Dabbs
Balloon preparing for takeoff in KingsportNikki Lewin-Dabbs/Photographer

The clear skies provided a perfect sunrise and a sky filled with nearly 20 hot air balloons in Legion Field and on Fort Henry Drive near Memorial Park outside of J. Fred Johnson Stadium today. The event continues to be a favorite for people of ages in the Kingsport area, especially the early risers.

The Hot Air Balloon Rally at Fun Fest is sponsored by Ballad Health, Marsh Regional Blood Center, Kingsport Times-News, Admiral Propane, Adventure Time Ballooning, Bare Bones BBQ, and Chef’s Pizzeria. The event is one of the few times people in the Tri-Cities have the opportunity to watch hot air balloons be unpacked, hooked up, and filled with air as it is heated and expanding the balloon.

Like we had today, the clear skies provide picturesque launches that can make great photos for people using their smartphones. It's understandable why this continues to be a favorite event during the festival for forty years.

Here are some facts unknown to many in the Tri-Cities area (originally published by Fun Fest in 2009):

  • Hot-air ballooning is the oldest form of successfully engineered human flight.
  • Hot air balloons were discovered in France in 1783 by brothers  Joesph and Jacques Montgolfier.
  • The first balloons were sent up without any passengers, and later various animals were used.
  • On November 21, 1783, the first balloon-carrying people (Pilatre de Rozier and Francois Laurent) was launched in Paris. The balloon rose about 500 feet and traveled for over 5 miles.

Kingsport is home to Adventure Time Ballooning. Located at 214 East Center Street, they can hook you and your group up with a grand adventure where you can experience the breathtaking views of Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. For more information on Adventure Time Ballooning, check out their website.

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An outdoor enthusiast with a passion for travel and adventure. John is a professional consultant and photojournalist.

Bristol, TN

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