Colorful hot air balloons and kites as large as semitrailers will fill the sky over Goodyear when the Arizona Events Group’s 10th annual Arizona Balloon Classic takes flight Friday, April 30 to Sunday, May 2.
The socially distanced outdoor event scheduled for 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 6 a.m. to noon Sunday at Goodyear Ballpark, 1933 S. Ballpark Way, will feature family-friendly shows and activities. New this year is the Desert Winds Kite Festival.
Sunday admission is free for everyone. Advance Friday/Saturday tickets purchased online at abcfest.com are $20 for ages 13 and older and $10 for ages 55 and older; add $5 per ticket if purchased at the gate. Active-duty military, veterans and ages 12 and younger are admitted free each day. Parking will be $5 per vehicle.
Pets are not allowed at the event, and all activities are dependent on weather conditions, organizers said. In the event of cancellation, rain checks to other balloon event will be offered in lieu of refunds.
The schedule of activities includes:
Arizona Balloon Classic Hare and Hound races: From 6:35 to 7:35 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, spectators can walk on the ballpark’s grassy fields as Hare and Hound race teams inflate their balloons and lift off, filling the Arizona sky with brilliant blues, purples, oranges and reds. Photo-taking is invited.
AlaskaUSA Federal Credit Union Desert Glow: From 6:30 to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, patrons can experience a field full of tethered, illuminated hot air balloons glowing in time to music. Saturday night will feature a Pilots Parade with a constant burn of purple, green, red and yellow flames from the balloons. Fireworks and the AlaskaUSA Federal Credit Union Desert Glow will follow the parade.
Family Fun Zone: Festival-goers can participate in an assortment of free and ticketed activities all three days, including hot air balloon rides and tethered rides, inflatable games, stunt bike shows, live entertainment, sampling and more. The zone also will feature vendors and commercial exhibits for purchases or browsing.
Street Foodfest: The festival’s fourth annual foodfest will feature beer and wine gardens, local food truck and festival food favorites, and a live music stage during festival hours each day.
Desert Winds Kite Festival: Presented by My Wind Stuff, the kite festival Saturday and Sunday will feature show kites larger than semitrailers, windsocks larger than motor homes and a 50-foot Mega Fish Kite. There will also be candy canons, paper rocket-making and launching, and parachute racing for all ages. Kites for all ages and abilities also will be available for sale, including single-line, dual-line sport kites and quad-line stunt kites. Kite show times will be based on weather conditions, organizers said.
Each year, Arizona Balloon Classic donates a portion of beverage and ticket sales to a local nonprofit organization. This year’s community partner is Valley of the Sun United Way, organizers said. One dollar from each ticket sold this year will be dedicated to United Way Covid Relief and Rebuilding in Maricopa County.
Last year’s event raised $7,500 for Valley of the Sun United Way, funding 1,072 food bags for Valley students. Volunteers built 1,200 WeekEnd Hunger Pantry Packs for students in need onsite.
Valley of the Sun United Way, now in its 95th year, aims to break the cycle of poverty by ensuring children and youth succeed, ending hunger and homelessness and increasing the financial stability of families in Maricopa County.
The organization unifies an array of partners, including 90,000 donors, 400 business supporters, and 5,000 volunteers from nonprofits, government and faith-based communities. For more information, visit vsuw.org.
Arizona Events Group produces and coordinates sports and entertainment events like balloon classic, Fiesta and Cactus Bowls and Super Bowls XXX and XLII. It also provides special event products, services and consulting. For more information, visit https://azeventsgroup.com