Balloons are coming to Columbus October 7th-9th, 2016

The Columbus Hot Air Balloon Regatta began in October of 1990, making it to #27 in 2016. The first year there were seven (7) balloons participating, it rained and the balloons did not get off the ground for any of the planned events. With good sponsors wanting to try again and GREAT pilots who by word of mouth kept telling other pilots they must come to Columbus, the event grew. Through the past 27 years, all events have been held and some years only a few of the planned flights were able to take off. This event is at the mercy of the weather – low winds, no fog, no rain or mist. Never leave the field until you see the pilots leave, decisions to fly or not fly are not made until the pilot briefing that is held before each planned flight.
The Columbus Regatta takes only 20 Hot Air Balloonist each year. It is kept at 20, due to field size, safety and to keep the personal touch with our pilots. Many of our pilots have been in attendance for 20 years or more.
A hot air balloon glow is held on Friday evening, at dusk. It is a beautiful sight looking out over the field; it looks like dancing light bulbs when the burners are hit to light up the night sky.
Weather permitting, Saturday and Sunday morning, dawn brings the pilots into competition with a hare and hound race. A race will also be held on Saturday afternoon around 5:15 p.m. weather permitting on all.
A pilot is drawn or volunteers to be the hare for the race. With pilots taking the field, the hare pilot continues to inflate and lift off; the other pilots (hounds) are allowed to cold inflate while the hare if on the ground, but they can’t start hot inflation until the hare leaves the ground. The hare will travel in the wind current, until finding a location to sit down, place a large X on the ground. Each hound pilot carries a drop market. The object is to get the marker as close to the center of the X, without the basket touching the ground. A judge is on hand to measure each drop. First, second and third winners are declared. The drops vary from year to year from large foam darts, t-paper rolls, beanie babies, bean bags, whatever has some weight to it.
There is a parking fee of $1.00 per person or you can purchase a $5.00 parking pass and it will allow entry for all events. Due to safety reasons you are not allowed to park on the highway, or on private property (Crossland Heavy, McDonalds, Jay Hatfield Chevrolet, Calibrated Forms warehouse or Bath-Naylor Funeral Home). The Class LTD lot is used and vehicles must have a hang tag to park in that lot.
Held in connections with the Hot Air Balloon Regatta is the Columbus Day Festival on the historic downtown square, Saturday. Activities include a craft show, car and tractor show, old timer’s day, quilt show, food, entertainment, trolley rides, tractor pull and something for everyone to keep busy between balloon lift offs.
Dates for 2016 is October 7 – 9. Schedules are available in area businesses or on the web at


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