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High River balloon fest brings people and hot air balloons together

People can get a close-up view of glowing hot air balloons and watch daily take-offs from Wednesday to Sunday this week in High River.
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Spectators watch as balloons lift off for an afternoon flight from the Macleod Trail launch site during the Heritage Inn International Balloon Festival in High River on Sept. 24, 2022.

People in the High River area will have an eye to the sky in the coming week. 

The Heritage Inn International Balloon Festival returns to the town from Sept. 27 to Oct. 1, with approximately 30 pilots taking part.

During the festival, balloon flights take off daily from the Macleod Trail launch site in southwest High River. Local pilots will be joined by balloonists from Canada, the United States and Europe.

The first flight is at 5:15 p.m. after opening ceremonies take place on Sept. 27.

After that, flights are scheduled to launch at 7:30 a.m. and 5:15 p.m. each day of the festival. There are no evening flights on Sept. 29 or Oct. 1. 

All flights are weather-dependent and subject to change, and spectators are encouraged to check the festival's website or social media accounts for up-to-date information. 

It's free to watch the daily launches or attend Balloon Glow on Sept. 29, which provides an up close experience as the public is welcomed to walk among the inflated balloons at Wallaceville from 5 to 9 p.m.

During the glow, the balloons stay on the ground but the envelopes are inflated. Organizers say spectators can feel the heat as the balloons inflate.

Numerous food trucks will be on site, and crews begin inflating the balloons about 30 minutes before sunset.

Traffic restrictions will be in place during the Balloon Glow. There is a $20 fee for parking in some areas, which includes a shuttle ride to and from the site. 

For more information, including schedules and maps, visit