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Colors in the sky Hot air balloons to fly in RGV


As the population of the Rio Grande Valley increases, new entertainment events are being created, such as the
first ever South Texas Balloon Festival, which begins at 4p.m.Friday in Mercedes.

Claudia corral, co-founder of the South Texas Balloon Festival, said it was time to expose the Valley to something the area is not normally accustomed to.

“We’re the media, marketing and entertainment section, so once we were presented with the opportunity to bring something new to the Valley, we took it,” Corral said.

The festival will feature a number of different activities, performances and eateries, such as the balloon education expo from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday for scheduled private schools and some homeschooled children.

About 20 different local food vendors, including food trucks, will be present at the event. Music performances by local artists ranging from from DJs to school performances with selections from pop and country music will decorate the festival.

A fajita cook off takes place Saturday with a $2,000 grand prize as well as $1,000 and $500 prizes for second and third place,respectively.For those who make the best beans, the first-place winner will receive$500;second place, $300; and third place, $200.

University of Texas Pan American graduate Clare Nerio saw on Facebook that some of her friends would be attending the event and is looking forward to taking her family out for some fun.

“I wanted to see something different in the [valley]- something family oriented and I’m glad there are more events like these happening,” the Donna native said. “I want to go and have a good time with my family –trying new foods and listening to lie music.”

Not only does the festival offer family fun, but it also gives a new type of scenery for the people of the Valley to see. UTRGV student Daniela Galindo saw pictures of a balloon festival similar to the upcoming event that her aunt attended in New Braunfels and San Antonio.

The scenery was beautiful,” the nursing major said. “It looked amazing.[The festival] is also a great way to bring the community together.”

The festival, located at the RGV Livestock Showgrounds in Mercedes, 1000 N.Texas Ave., will run until midnight Friday, and from 5 p.m. to midnight Saturday and Sunday.

Tickets ($10 for adults and $5 for children, high school or college students with a valid ID, military members or veterans and seniors) a r e available on the festival website at www.southtexasballoonfestival.com. Admission is free for children ages 2 and younger. Parking is $5 per car and express parking is $10. On site, there will be balloon-tethered rides–$20 for adults and $10 for children. A tethered ride is a hot air balloon that will float to the air and is securely anchored to the ground using a series of strong ropes and carabiners.

The festival will also offer a commercial balloon flight, at $300 per person, that will take off from a designated location and land at an undetermined location.

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