Townsend to Host Inaugural Great Smoky Mountain Hot Air Balloon Festival

TOWNSEND, Tenn. –The inaugural Great Smoky Mountain Hot Balloon Festival takes place 3-9 p.m. Aug. 19 at the Townsend Visitors Center, an early welcome to the Aug. 21 solar eclipse.

The sky will be filled with a spectrum of color against the backdrop of a breathtaking Tennessee sunset as dozens of professional balloonists take flight. Families can enjoy kid-friendly activities, live entertainment, crafters demonstrating and selling their artwork, food from the food truck court and local craft beer.

For those desiring a unique view of the scenic mountains, balloonists will offer tethered hot air balloon rides (weather depending).

The event takes place within days of another highly-anticipated Blount County event: the total solar eclipse.

A narrow path in the United States will experience the first total solar eclipse in 26 years on Monday, Aug. 21. Only certain parts of specific states will experience this cosmic event. Blount County is one of the places to see this event.

In anticipation of the total solar eclipse, many Blount County businesses are offering viewing events where attendees can get a good look at the eclipse through special glasses which protect eyes during the partial phases of the eclipse.

Also located in Townsend, Dancing Bear Lodge will host a Total Solar Eclipse Party 1-2 p.m. for guests, visitors and members of the community. The lodge will provide blankets, chairs and eclipse glasses to each guest and lunch will be served “food truck style.”

Accommodations in Blount County Aug. 19-21 are quickly filling up, so visitors are encouraged to book their lodging early.

Those looking to plan a trip to Blount County can visit www.smokymountains.org/plan-your-trip for a list of accommodations, places to eat, things to do and what to see during the visit.

For more information on the Hot Air Balloon Festival, visit http://www.gsmballoonfest.com.

For more solar eclipse information, visit www.eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/eclipse.html.

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Need more info?

Cindy Dupree

Director of Public Relations
cindy.dupree@tn.gov
615) 741-9010