The Temecula Valley Balloon and Wine Festival celebrates 30 years this weekend starting Friday with more than 20 Temecula Valley wineries and over 40 hot air balloons!
|Photo Courtesy of TemeculaCalifornia.com|
Southern California Wine Country event lifts spirits and people with
plenty of tasty sensations, hot air balloon flights at dawn, evening
picnicking beneath the towering colorful orbs as they illuminate during
the balloon glow, top entertainment in concert, and an acclaimed
freestyle motocross (FMX) show with gravity-defying stunts.
A three-day showcase of the Temecula Valley Wine Country’s greatest
assets, the Festival greets 40,000 guests annually.
- Held at the Lake
Skinner Recreation Area and surrounded by the Shipley Preserve, the
Festival’s park setting provides natural vistas whether flying aboard a
hot air balloon or planted on terra firma and sipping a glass of premium
|Photo Courtesy of TemeculaCalifornia.com|
- Opening night, Friday evening May 31, is a crowd pleaser as families
pour into the Festival in anticipation of the evening “Balloon
Glow.” Gates open at 3 p.m. Friday to an Arts and Crafts Faire,
Kids Faire, exhibits, international food court, concerts on the main
stage and wine tasting. The luminescent Balloon Glow is created when
balloon pilots synchronize igniting burners of the balloons. The burner
is what creates the “hot” in the air.
- Concerts are held on two stages Friday and Saturday with national
bands, Sunday concerts are held on the wine stage while the main stage
becomes an FMX exhibition of high flying Motocross daredevils.
|Food pairing at Temecula Valley Balloon & Wine Festival.
Photo Courtesy of TemeculaCalifornia.com
The Temecula Valley Balloon and Wine Festival offers top-name
entertainment, wine tasting in the Wine Garden, Kids Faire, Arts &
Crafts and Commercial exhibits and the Food Court. Wine tasting features
different premium wines from numerous Temecula Valley wineries as well
as others from Southern California.
Call (951) 676-6713 or
Friday $24.00 adults; youth 6-12 $5.00 and children 5 and under FREE,
SHOULD NOT be left in vehicles.
ALCOHOL TICKET SALES:
Funnel Cakes, Hot Dogs, Hamburgers, Sandwiches, BBQ, Tri-Tip, Sausages, Fries, Kettle corn, Smoothies, Shaved Ice, Coffee, Soda, Lemonade, and Ice Cream.
Festival Spectator Tips by TVBWF:
- Dress in layers. It is sometimes very cool in the morning, but once the sun has risen, it warms up considerably.
- Bring lots of sunscreen. Temecula’s bright sunshine and reflections
can produce painful sunburn. Shade tents will be available for temporary
- Bring insect repellent. It is important to have the repellent with you to keep the insects away.
- Bring appropriate eye protection.
- DON’T SMOKE anywhere near the hot air balloons. A lit cigarette could ignite a balloon’s fuel tank.
- Watch where you walk and drive. Do not drive and watch at the same
time as balloon chase vehicles make sudden stops. If you are walking on
fields, please avoid stepping on balloon canopies and ropes.
- For the balloon glow, the balloons will be tethered and held down with
heavy ropes. They will ignite their burners and glow to the beat of the
music. Be careful that you don’t walk or trip over the ropes in the
- Enjoy the glowing balloons from a safe distance. Children and adults
should stay a reasonable distance away from the balloons. The operators
will be very busy providing a wondrous show for our guests.
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The Temecula Valley Balloon and Wine Festival, then known as the Rancho California Balloon and Wine Festival, was started in 1983 by Walt Darren, a commercial airline pilot and avid balloonist and by Evelyn Harker a veteran event organizer and fund raiser. Evelyn immediately suggested it might “fly” even better if it involved some of the area’s other natural attractions such as wine tasting, culinary presentations and entertainment. With an enormous task ahead, the assistance of two other community-minded individuals, Sherry Prysock and Mike Flaherty was enlisted and Evelyn became the first event chair person. The seed money was provided by Kaiser Development Company and sponsors came from the local community giving what they could with many contributions consisting of in-kind services and products.
At this time, there were only six wineries in the region. The first Balloon and Wine Festival was launched in the Spring of 1984 and was a monumental success for a town of only 9,000 residents. More than 4,000 people were in attendance that year as 35 balloons were launched from the Rancho California Plaza area off Ynez Road (now Tower Plaza). The balloons flew over the serene pastures surrounding the area and the wine tasting was held in the parking lot of the current Tower Plaza.
As the Festival grew, music was added and the event was moved to the Sports Park. In 1986 as the event continued to grow, it was moved to Cherry Avenue and the first ever poster contest was held. During 1987-1988, the Festival was moved back to the Sports Park and in 1989, it was moved to its current location at Lake Skinner. In the beginning, parking was not even allowed on the Festival park grounds.
In 1988, a landmark year by all accounts, the Festival featured live big name entertainment with the Coasters and Little Anthony and the Imperials. In 1991 the Beach Boys entertained to growing crowds of locals and newcomers alike. Some of the early stages used were “handmade” by volunteers which is a far cry from the sophisticated production of recent years.
In 1991 the Temecula Valley Balloon and Wine Festival Association was formed when the Chamber of Commerce ceased producing the event. The mission statement of this new non-profit charitable organization was (and still is) to enhance the charitable, cultural, educational and economic development of the region.
During the 1992-1993 Festival years, no hot air balloons were launched but a balloon glow was presented by Paradise Chevrolet in 1993.
While the theme of hot air balloons and wine has always served to anchor the event, each year new attractions have been introduced. The Temecula Valley Balloon and Wine Festival has become a celebration of life with flavor and appeal for everyone and has become the premier event in the beautiful Temecula Valley.
Visitors to the Festival bring business to our community and can enjoy local cuisine, retail stores and they also book numerous hotel/motel rooms and campsites. Local businesses benefit by providing goods, services, products and rentals to the Festival. The infusion of revenue from this attraction boosts the economy of Temecula as well as surrounding areas.
The foremost benefit, mentioned by almost all, is the amazing feeling of community spirit that is fostered year after year, as hundreds of volunteers come together to make magic rise from empty green fields.
The Festival Association returns proceeds to community organizations including the 4-H Club, Boy Scouts, Boys & Girls Clubs of Southwest Riverside County, Rotary Club, Temecula Valley Art League and Temecula Valley Wine Society. In addition, Sports teams from: Murietta High; Chaparral High and Great Oaks High are benefactors as is the Theatre Foundation, the Riverside County Volunteer Fire Fighters and the Riverside County Sheriff’s Activity League Cops and Kids Program. Many requests for donated Festival items are received during the year asking for support of fund-raising activities on behalf of local organizations including other non-profits. The Festival continues to respond with donations to many of these organizations to assist in their fund-raisers.
Disclosure: Information gathered from their website and Press Release. All opinions are my own. Please visit their website for most updated information.