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Mid-Way Balloon Fest to benefit kids

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SHERRY LONG
The Ellis County Press

ELLIS COUNTY - Forty -plus hot-air balloons will take to the skies June 20-22 during the 96.3 Midway Balloon Festival at the Mid-Way Regional Airport on Highway 287 to benefit the North Texas chapter of Make-A-Wish Foundation.

During the fourth annual festival in addition to hot air balloons, visitors will be treated to live music, arts, crafts, vintage show of aircraft, classic cars, motorcycles and tractors.

Balloons will participate in a low-key friendly race lifting off at sunrise and in late afternoons during the festival, with weather permitting, according to Balloon Meister Mark Ibbotson of Grand Prairie.

Balloons such as the Mariah, 2 Irresistible, Jelly Bean and Hour Stars will hold 77,000 cubic feet of air, capable of holding up to three people.

'Others will shimmer on display with their hot-air glowing colors at dusk-both Friday and Saturday beginning at 6:30 p.m.,' said Ibbotson.

Hot air balloons are made out of rip stock nylon with the ability to hold 54,000 cubic feet to 300,000 cubic feet of air.

Gates will be open Friday, June 20 at 1 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday, June 21 6:30 a.m. to midnight; and Sunday, June 22 6 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Advance tickets can be purchased at any Citizens Bank location in Ellis County for $5. Tickets at the gate are $8. Passes are good for one day or the entire weekend.

Kids under 12 will get in free with a paid adult admission. Parking will be free. A parade featuring balloon rigs and chase crews, classy cars and motorcycles will make its way through downtown Waxahachie at 11 a.m. Saturday.

Live music will be

provided in various musical genres on stage.

Inflatable slides, jump houses, pony rides, a petting zoo, face painting and rock climbing are events children can partake in.

No festival would be complete without food. Turkey legs, hamburgers, fajitas, baked potatoes, french fries, nachos, ice cream, funnel cake, and pizza are just a sample of menu items.

'We will use the money to successfully fulfill our mission: to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening conditions - to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy,' said president and chief executive officer of the Make-A-Wish Foundation North Texas chapter, Barry Smink.

Make-A-Wish foundation was created in 1982 has granted over 260 plus wishes a year serving over 60 counties in North Texas.

Balloon Charities, a non-profit organization, hopes to raise at least $12,000 to assist in granting terminal ill children their wishes said Carol Berry, a volunteer balloon pilot relations manager.

The principal sponsor is Dallas-Ft Worth country radio station KSCS 96.3.

Allen Samuels AutoPlex, Mid-Way Regional Airport, Citizens National Bank of Ellis County, Statewide Remodeling, SouthTrust Bank, Amerigas, Annie Loyd's Antique Mall, Midtech Power and Control, Best Western Waxahachie, Midlothian Inn, All-State Striping and Kold Ice are just some of the many sponsors for the festival.


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