Family Travel

Kerry Egan



Here come the hot air balloons!

Posted 5/23/2013 11:01:00 AM

I've never seen a hot-air balloon up close, let alone 80 of them in the air all at once, but that's about to change this weekend! We're headed to Aloft, a festival in Simpsonville that celebrates all things (well, many things) in the air. Previously known as Freedom Weekend Aloft, the festival runs from this Friday, May 24, through Monday, May 27.

The festival will feature not just colorful hot-air balloons floating over the South Carolina countryside (along with the chance to go for a ride in one (see the website to make a reservation.) There will also be aerobatics shows, a zipline over the causeway, helicopter rides, amusement rides, remote-controlled planes, painting classes, gourmet food trucks and craft beers.

A new addition to the festival this year is the Gibbon Slacklines Open. Slacklining is a sport in which people jump, flip, and do tricks while balancing on a thin piece of webbing. And there will be an interactive area where festival-goers can try it out for themselves!

Each evening, big name musical acts will take to the stage, including country stars Kip Moore and Corey Smith, and ’90snineties rockstars Third Eye Blind (am I aging myself so much to admit that I'm really excited about seeing them?).

Look for a post next week on how it goes (and whether I work up the courage to try that slacklining!).

Aloft takes place this weekend from the evening of May 24 through May 27 in Simpsonville. The balloons launch between 7 and 9 a.m., but all other festival activities start at 10 a.m. You can buy tickets at for $8. You can also buy tickets at the gate for $12 before 4 p.m. After 4, tickets are $15. Kids younger than 12 attend for free.