STORY WRITTEN BY BRIAN BINGAMAN
@brianbingaman on Twitter
The New Garden Flying Field is the aptly-named site of the Chester County Balloon Festival.
Highlights of the June 24-26 event include more than 100 vendors (including food and beverages), live bands, hot air balloons, balloon glows, children’s activities and Saturday night fireworks.
Isn’t that place an airport?
Yes. You’ll find it at 1235 Newark Road, Toughkenamon.
What’s the best time to get there?
The biggest crowds will be for the mass balloon ascensions and the glows. So that you can see it all, note that the gates open at 4 p.m. on Friday, 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, and noon on Sunday. It’s a smart idea to have your blanket/chairs in place by 7 on Friday and 4:30 on Saturday.
What does it cost to go to the festival?
Admission is $15, $5 for children 6-12. Tickets for hot air balloon rides, tethered balloon rides and helicopter rides require an additional fee. General admission, and some special events and balloon ride, tickets can be purchased at www.ccballoonfest.com in advance. Tickets can be purchased at the festival with cash only. Proceeds go to the Chester County Hero Fund and other local community groups.
How many balloons will there be?
More than 20, including special shape balloons.
I looked at the detailed schedule on the website. Why do flights take place only in the morning and late afternoon?
Balloons move with the air and need stable winds to operate effectively. The optimum hours for finding these winds are just after sunrise and approximately two hours before sunset. You should be aware that all balloon event times you saw on the site, including tethered rides, are approximate and are subject to delay and/or cancellation due to weather conditions. Even if the weather is nice on the ground, the pilots can delay or cancel a flight due to upper wind flow conditions.
Speaking of the weather, what if it rains?
Look for updates at www.ccballoonfest.com. There are other activities and attractions to enjoy, in the event ballooning events are canceled. If your ride is cancelled it will be rescheduled at another time. All ticket sales are final, so carefully read the cancellation policies before purchasing special event tickets or rides.
Are children allowed on the balloon rides?
The minimum height for children is 40 inches for both tethered and untethered balloon flights.
How high do they fly?
Anywhere from tree level to about 3,000 feet above the ground.
Is there a best place to view the balloons?
In front of the runway and hangars.
Where do you go for the helicopter rides?
Helicopter and balloon rides will start on a runway spur. Rides will not be in operation during the balloon launches.
What’s the parking situation?
It’s on grass fields. There will be an area designated for handicapped parking on pavement.
What else is important to know?
Wear comfortable shoes and bring sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses, and a flashlight if you’re going to be there after dark. Because of FAA rules, coolers are not allowed. Outside food is OK, but not in coolers. No outside alcohol will be allowed. No pets allowed. You can purchase tailgate spaces to set up your own tent and chairs. For large groups, you can purchase VIP tented tailgate space and car parking.
Is there a real person I can talk to for questions?
Try calling (610) 827-7208.