Tuesday, February 20, 2018
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Look for the skies over Mercedes to be filled with colorful balloons once again on Nov. 4-6 as the 2nd Annual South Texas Balloon Festival takes place at the Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show Grounds, located at 1000 N. Texas Avenue.

Visitors will have opportunities to take to the air through a variety of activities including balloon rides, both tethered and commercial, skydiving with tandem jumps, and on helicopter rides.

Balloons to participate in the skydiver team show include A.M. Sunrise, flown by Jason Myers, Stars & Stripes, flown by Bill Broker and Mick, flown by Glen Carlisle. Others include Curves 1, flown by Jeff Bennett, Morning Kiss, flown by Ann Kirby and Thursday’s Child, flown by Fred Dinkler.

There is a full schedule of events starting with a pilot breakfast at 7 a.m. on Friday and Saturday and Sunday at 6 a.m. Sunrise flights at 7:44 a.m. on Friday, 7:45 a.m. on Saturday and 6:45 a.m. on Sunday. (Remember the time changes.) At 8 a.m. tethered balloon rides begin.

The festival will be closed from noon to 4 p.m. each day, and will reopen with a pilot dinner/meet and greet daily at 5 p.m.

Sunset flights are at 6:49 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 5:48 p.m. on Sunday. A skydiver show will be held at 6:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 5:30 p.m. on Sunday. It will be followed by a balloon glow. At 8 p.m. Friday there will be a DJ Show, and DJ Shows in the afternoon on Saturday and Sunday.

Tethered balloon rides end at 10 p.m. each day.

On Saturday there will be special entertainment when LC Rocks Band takes the stage at 9:30 p.m.

On Sunday there will be a farewell banquet at 10:30 a.m. Special entertainment by Whiskey D at 7:30 p.m. The festival will close at midnight.

Tickets may be purchased in advance at Dairy Queens and Little Caesar locations throughout the Valley for $13 for adults and $5 for children. At the box office tickets are $15 for adults or adult VIP $120. Tethered balloon rides are $20, while balloon flights are $300.

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