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Don't miss the Preakness Celebration Hot Air Balloon Festival May 19-20 at Turf Valley in Ellicott City with a special tribute to our Wounded Warriors.

There will be tethered balloon rides, family activities, live entertainment, crafts, food and the nightly Balloon Glow, when up to 21 colored balloons are lit from within. New this year is a balloon shaped as Maryland's unofficial mascot — Claw'd the Crazy Crab Balloon.

The festival will take place Thursday and Friday from 4 p.m.-9 p.m. Balloon festivities include 21 hot air balloons on display, a walk-through hot air balloon, a balloon glow on Thursday and Friday evening, tethered balloon rides, pilot demonstrations, and a chance to fly on a hot air balloon ride.

Preakness Celebration Balloon Festival

Preakness® Celebration Hot Air Balloon Festival will honor Wounded Warriors with an American Hero Celebration Friday evening and an Armed Forces Day Celebration Saturday morning. On Friday, Wounded Warriors and their family are invited to a special invitation-only reception and the chance to stand in balloon baskets and illuminate the balloon with fire burners at the balloon glow.

On Saturday morning, the Armed Forces Day Ceremony will begin at 6 a.m. with a presentation of colors by Boy Scout Troop 944 of Ellicott City, Howard County Fire & Rescue, Police Honor Guard and National Guard. Turf Valley will then fly four wounded verteran and two first responders with their caregiver in a special ceremony at dawn. The launch and ceremony ends at 7:15 a.m.

Admission to the event is free and open to the public. All parking will be available at Howard County Fairgrounds with shuttles providing transportation to and from Turf Valley. The cost of parking is $10 per car and will collected by the Elkridge Adult Athletic Association.

Festival Activities include:

  • Four mass ascensions of hot air balloons. Balloon rides are available for $225 a person for a 30-45 minute balloon flight — weather and proper wind direction are required for safe flight. Book your flight on the website.
  • Balloon Glow on Thursday and Friday evenings.
  • Tethered Balloon Rides. Go up 60-80 feet for up to 2 minutes. $20 for adults & $10 for Children ubder 12. Experience the thrill. No advance booking.
  • Walkabout Balloon for children and adults - fee $3.
  • The Roaming Railroad will be 'roaming' the grounds providing fun rides for all.
  • Rock climing wall, tree-climbing and horseback rides.
  • Craft and Food Vendors
  • Music Entertainment

 Crab balloon

For details visit the Preakness Celebration Balloon Festival website.

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