Hot Air Balloon Festival Draws Masses to Kennesaw

The Owl O’Ween Hot Air Balloon Festival took place Saturday, Oct. 26, at the KSU Stadium Complex. In addition to the hot air balloons, guests experienced hula hooping contests, inflatable playhouses, and Halloween mask making.

According to the website, HotAirBalloon.com, the festival could draw “ [25,000] in attendance throughout the event.” Judging by the crowds, this number was most likely either met or surpassed. Throughout the day, from 4 p.m. to midnight, there was a heavy traffic flow of people visiting the stadium.

Star 94 and Radio Disney provided the music in different sections of the stadium. Star 94 was the main sponsor of this event, according to the Owl O’Ween website and all of the signs throughout the stadium.

On the left side of the stadium, there were about a dozen hot air balloons on display. These were the balloons used for children to go “trick-or-treating.”

To the right side of the stadium was where the tethered balloon rides were and only three balloons were utilized for this. For the tethered balloon rides, the balloons went up anywhere from 50 to 75 feet, according to KSU volunteer Miracle Wingate.

“The event has been fun overall,” said Wingate, a senior Education major. “As far as kids being scared in the hot air balloons—we are unaware of any complaints.” All ages except for arm-held babies were allowed onto the hot air balloon rides.

The event featured live performances by the Kurt Thomas Band and The Village People. The Village People energetically performed their signature hits: “Macho Man,” “San Francisco,”“Go West” and, of course, “YMCA.” They even performed a compilation of famous disco songs ranging from Gloria Gaynor to the Bee Gees.

Throughout the stadium, large screens displayed the entries for the “Costume Showdown,” open to all ages. The entrants held a white board displaying their entry number for people to “like” them on Facebook and Twitter. The children dressed as Moses, a ladybug and a pumpkin appeared to be the top contenders.

Indeed, the event was a unique experience. One of my favorite stilt walkers was someone who was dressed as a tree. Even some people were shocked that it was a person in a costume rather than an actual tree. It was somewhat funny to hear some screams from people when the tree began to move but then quickly realize it was someone in a costume.

The hot air balloons, stilt walkers, sword swallowers, fire breathers, sideshow performers, art vendors and the Mystical Marketplace were a sight to see.

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