6th Annual Citrus Classic Balloon Festival a bucket list of adventure
By Peggy Kelly
Santa Paula News
Published: July 24, 2013
A bucket list of adventure for the whole family is being readied at Limoneira Soccer Fields, where the 6th Annual Citrus Classic Balloon Festival will be held this weekend.
“We’re so excited,” said Carla Edwards, the founder and organizer of the festival whose success she has always credited to an army of hardworking volunteers.
This year Pink Cadillac Entertainment’s Kevin Rock is handling numerous duties, including promotions with regular Facebook updates. The regular posts also are showcasing the array of food that will be available over the weekend. “If the festival is going to grow into what it should be Carla needs help,” said Rock, whose company has strong experience with festivals including those centered on music and entertainment.
Edwards said more emphasis will be made on the locale: “We’ll be doing more marketing and calling it the Santa Paula Balloon Festival” to establish the sense of place for the locale that is becoming known as Southern California’s ballooning nirvana.
Everyone loves hot air balloons. Edwards said the volunteer that comes the farthest to help at the festival lives in Redondo Beach; and many people have opened their homes to host balloon pilots, this year coordinated by Jane Lax.
One balloonist is coming from Utah to take part in the festival, which this year is expected to draw 28 balloons including a balloon from Utah. Edwards said, “Right now we have four character balloons,” loved by kids and adults alike, that includes new attractions such as a pencil balloon tied to promoting education as well repeat favorite Panda Bear.
“All the balloonists love Santa Paula” and the enthusiastic support they get from area residents. Thousands of supporters will let their summer take flight at the festival, although at times Mother Nature’s weather quirks do not permit actual flights that celebrate hot air ballooning.
Although weather can challenge the event’s schedule of ballooning, even without the floating globes there’s gobs of fun to be had for every age and interest.
As an example, Friday fun will run from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. with food vendors, My Gym Ventura Kids Fun Zone, live music with Charles Law and later The House Arrest Band, a “Buzz” Radio Love Is In The Air Singles Mixer (additional costs apply), Ag Alley & Kids Fun Zone (until 8 p.m.), the famous evening Balloon Glow (8 p.m. depending, of course, on the weather), craft and retail vendors, and the famed and almost sold out Sunset Wine Dinner.
The fun continues July 27 with a Saturday filled with attractions such as Morning Balloon Tether Rides & Ascensions (6:30 to 9 a.m. depending on the weather), Ag Alley & Kids Fun Zone (8 a.m.-7p.m.), vintage Topa Topa Fly Wheeler and antique tractor display, Fillmore & Western Railway train rides to Discover Historic Downtown Santa Paula (from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.), Taste of Ventura County Tasting Pavilion (noon to 6 p.m.), the spectacular Glow ‘N Show Car Show, and Santa Paula Airport Air Display including Sky Writing & Sky Divers (look to the sky at 5:30 p.m.).
There will also be Beer Tasting (1 to 5 p.m.), and continuous live music with Johnny & The Love Handles, The Retreads, Juano & Friends, Sam ‘n Ash, The Bomb with Victor Vega, and Dirty Rice. Another Evening Balloon Glow is planned (8 p.m. again depending on the weather), followed by an AfterGlow Party with live music.
Sunday is something new, with the Summit to Sea Poker Run & Rally following hot air balloons at 6:30 a.m. in the morning (Mother Nature permitting of course!), followed by the Poker Run at 9 a.m. The motorcycles will tour around Ventura County, then return to the balloon fields by approximately 11 a.m. for prizes, tri-tip BBQ, Firestone 805 Beer Garden, performances by Hard Six and RedFish, and a Santa Paula Airport display with plane fly-bys and skydivers.
Ag Alley and Kids Fun Zone will not be open Sunday, but the weekend’s kids’ attractions will still be on site offering a Ferris wheel, inflatable slides, carnival rides and games of chance all at an additional cost.
Advance tickets are now available on-line, via phone and at staffed ticket locations. Adults $8 advance prior to July 25th/$10 gate; Youth (5-14) $4 advance prior to July 25th/$5 gate; 5 and under free. Tickets valid for one (1) day only.
Free shuttles will service free municipal parking lots. Or select For-Fee Festival Lots within .5 mile of festival grounds (walkable or short shuttle) for $7 per car, $10 larger vehicles or more than 5 passengers, $12 RVs.
You can save even more with free parking during Kids Discovery Day (remember: Friday only 6:30 a.m. - 3 p.m.) and Saturday Sunrise Balloons (6:30 a.m. - 10 a.m. in select Festival Lots only).
Fillmore & Western Railway will shuttle visitors to Santa Paula’s Historic Downtown/Main Street area for free! The festival will again feature the popular Recycled Art Contest! For more information visit www.citrusclassicballoons.com.