Muskogee’s historic Hatbox Field to host inaugural Oklahoma Festival of Ballooning

The mystique and beauty of colorful hot air balloons will grace Muskogee’s historic Hatbox Field for the inaugural Oklahoma Festival of Ballooning on August 17 and 18, 2018. Dozens of balloon pilots and their crews are expected to participate with many of them competing for the Oklahoma Hot Air Balloon Championship Governor’s Trophy.
 
This new event is presented by Muskogee Parks & Recreation Department with hot air balloon
event management provided by Kansas City AeroSports. Additional support is being provided by
The City of Muskogee, Muskogee Tourism and The Greater Muskogee Area Chamber of Commerce.
“We are excited to welcome hot air balloons to Muskogee! Hatbox Field has seen many different
aircraft over the years. It seems fitting to celebrate its history as well as its value to our community
today with colorful lighter-than-air aircraft,” said Mark Wilkerson, director of Muskogee Parks and
Recreation.
 
Both Friday and Saturday evenings will feature luminous balloon glows for all to enjoy with many
of the balloons inflated and lit like enormous lanterns. $15 tether rides for those wanting a few
minutes in a floating balloon basket that is tied to the ground will also be featured. There will be a
limited number of passenger rides available throughout the weekend for those wanting to reserve
an opportunity to fly along with the festival’s pilots as they compete for the 2018 Governor’s
Trophy. Detailed information on pricing and early morning and evening flight times can be found
online at https://kcballoonrides.ticketspice.com/oklahoma-festival-of-ballooning. All hot air
balloon activities will be dependent on weather conditions deemed safe for pilots, their crews,
passengers and spectators.

WHO: Residents and visitors of all ages!
WHEN: Friday August 17, 2018 5:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Saturday August 18, 2018 7:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
5:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
WHERE: Hatbox Field, Muskogee, Oklahoma
Located just West of Highway 69 and Border Street
at 4000 Border Street, Muskogee, OK 74401
COST: FREE general admission and open to the public!

Food and beverage vendors will be selling a wide variety of menu options on site.
Additional entertainment and activities will also be going on. Visit the event’s
Facebook page for updates and further schedule announcements @OkieBalloonFest!
Parking Passes: $10 per day per vehicle
RV Spots: $10 per night – Special Inaugural Year RV Camping Price!

The competition aspect of the event is the only one of its kind in the state. Competition events are
held worldwide as a draw for pilots who are interested in honing their skills. Competition tasks
vary and are often not called until the day of the event. Based on current weather conditions
including wind direction and speeds pilots may be asked to fly into or out of the competition field.
They may be asked to drop small weighted marker at the center of a large X, grab an object off the
top of a large pole, or some other activity. It takes careful planning, precision flying and navigating
changing wind conditions to compete as a hot air balloon pilot.
 
“We look forward to awarding the trophy to the Oklahoma State Champion in Muskogee,” said Chris
Sabia of Kansas City AeroSports, balloonmeister and event manager of the Oklahoma Festival of
Ballooning.

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