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Up, up, and away

When the residents of Galt decided to host a festival to attract visitors to their city, they looked all around for an idea that would really set them apart from other festivals in the region. It turned out they just had to look up for the answer.

Galt launched their inaugural hot air balloon festival last year and it was such a success that organizers are once again looking to fill the sky with an array of colorful balloons.

“When we were thinking of what to do for a festival, we wanted to have something that was really new and unique and then we hit upon the idea of hot air balloons,” said Galt Hot Air Balloon Festival Chairperson Toni Gerling. “The community was so receptive to the idea last year and had a great time seeing the balloons up close. You can’t imagine how big they really are until you’re up close to them, and when they fill the sky it’s an amazing sight.”

Sponsored by the Galt Chamber of Commerce, the 2nd annual Hot Air Balloon Festival is set for Aug. 10 and 11. It’s a festival catering to the early risers, with gates opening at 5 a.m. and the balloons taking flight just after sunrise. The festival ends at 11 a.m. each day.

The festival will feature eight balloons piloted by experienced flyers that will soar around the skies. Another four balloons will be tethered to the ground and offering festival-goers a ride up into the sky, weather permitting. Tickets for the balloon rides are $10 and can only be purchased at the venue and will be sold on a first come first served basis. The tethered balloons only fly in light winds and cool temperatures. It is at the discretion of the pilot when rides will begin and end during the festival. Children must be accompanied by an adult. 

The festival also will have booths for vendors, arts and crafts, and food. Guest are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets.

The event will be at the John McFallarn Living Ranch at 8899 Orr Road in Galt. The location is the historic home of one of Galt’s founders. The Galt Area Historical Society will be offering tours of the home during the two-day festival for $2.

Admission into the festival is $10 in advance or $15 if purchased at the gate. Children 5 and under are free. Parking at the venue is limited and requires a pre-purchased onsite parking pass. There also will be parking offsite at the Galt Market grounds, at 610 Chabolla Ave., with free shuttle rides to the venue. Shuttle rides will begin at 4:30 a.m. There will be a wheelchair accessible bus in the rotation. Guests must have a ticket to board the buses. Tickets will be available at the Galt Market grounds. Tickets can be purchased online at