13th Annual Sky High Hot Air Balloon Festival at Callaway Gardens

End Summer on a High Note with Hot Air Balloon, Music and More


Are you lamenting the end of another Summer? Worry not…at Callaway Gardens®, things are looking up - way up - with the return of the Callaway Gardens® Sky High Hot Air Balloon Festival for its 13th year.

Set for September 2-4, 2011, this annual Balloon Festival has something for everyone, from the soaring, majestic, colorful balloons to Callaway Gardens’ unique mix of natural beauty, to its endless helpings of multi-generational activities and events. When it comes to family fun at Callaway Gardens, the sky is the limit!

Festivities kick off Friday night when guests flock to Robin Lake Beach for the Balloon Glow. Upbeat live music sets the mood as balloons inflate. While the sun sets, the balloons’ individual colors glow against the gorgeous evening sky. Guests shout “ready, set…glow” while the tunes of a classic brass band play in the background.

On both Saturday and Sunday mornings, it is up, up and away as the balloons head for the open skies (weather permitting) at sunrise and sunset. On the ground, the action continues as Robin Lake Beach plays host to a family festival featuring activities and events for all ages. Choose from tethered balloon rides (weather permitting), sandcastle building, swimming, miniature golf, kite building, disc dog demonstrations, kneeboard championships, t-shirt tie-dyeing and more. Throughout the weekend the wafting smell from the grills will whet the appetite of guests for burgers, ribs, chicken and more.

Don’t miss the popular Classic Car Show on Saturday. In 2011, nearly 300 cars are expected to roll through the gates and add even more color to the already spectacular event. Inside the Gardens, be sure to witness the flight of hundreds of blue butterflies as part of September’s special Blue Morpho Month.

And, if you really want to fly, try out the new TreeTop Adventure, a brand new year-round attraction at Callaway Gardens featuring 25 games and zip lines in the tree canopy (Be sure to make your reservation before your visit). Additional new activities are at Robin Lake Beach including Aqua Island, Light Striker Laser Tag and Blaster Boats. Come prepared to get wet and have a great weekend.

On Sunday morning, the athletically inclined can enjoy their own adventures thanks to the Callaway Gardens Fitness Series, including a 5K run and the Triathlon. This year represents the 31st anniversary of the Triathlon at Callaway Gardens. It is the oldest triathlon in the South and one of the longest continuous running triathlons in the continental United States.

Festival admission is free for children 5 and younger (admission prices include tax). Annual Passholders and military, with active and retired identification, can enter the Gardens with up to five guests in the same vehicle for free on Friday and before 9 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. These two groups can enter for half-price after 9 a.m. each day.

As an incentive to witness the morning launches, admission at the U.S. Hwy. 27 Beach gate will be half-price from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. To make the early arrival deal a little sweeter, the Exchange Club of Columbus will be serving an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast for $5 per person under the Beach Pavilion on Saturday and Sunday morning while supplies last.

Stay around and enjoy the entire weekend with friends and family on the Sky High Hot Air Balloon Weekend Package. Starting at $179, this offer includes accommodations in the Mountain Creek Inn; admission to the Sky High Hot Air Balloon Festival; tickets to make tie-dye T-shirts for two adults and two children at the Festival on Saturday or Sunday; breakfast in the Plant Room or Country Kitchen; admission to Callaway Gardens and its many attractions; and use of the Mountain Creek Inn Fitness Center.

Callaway Gardens®, is in Pine Mountain, Ga., 60 minutes southwest of Atlanta and 30 minutes north of Columbus.

Callaway Gardens has provided “a place of relaxation, inspiration and a better understanding of the living world” for millions of visitors for almost 60 years. Owned and operated by the non-profit Ida Cason Callaway Foundation, Callaway Gardens includes a garden, resort, preserve and residential community on 13,000 acres in Pine Mountain, Georgia. Highlights include a butterfly conservatory, horticultural center, discovery center, chapel, inland beach, nature trails and special events throughout the year.

In addition, Callaway Gardens offers nearly 80,000 square feet of meeting space, 763 guest rooms, restaurants, a full-service spa, shops, golf, tennis, fishing and more.

Five unique, close-knit residential communities –with custom home sites, lakefront properties and cottages on the golf course – offer an ideal home away from home or full-time residence.

Callaway Gardens is home to a 4,610-acre forest preserve which is under conservation easement. This conserved, sustainably-managed land is used for biological studies and environmental education programs.