Lake Red Rock —
The second annual Red Rock Balloon Fest is scheduled for July 13-15 at Lake Red Rock.
This collaborative effort involving the Knoxville Chamber of Commerce, Pella Convention and Visitors Bureau, Red Rock Lake Association (RRLA) and the Army Corps of Engineers was successful in its first outing. This year is expected to be even better, with more activities and more balloons.
“The goal is to bring people out,” RRLA President Matt Kissinger said. There are at least 27 balloons scheduled to take part in the event. In addition, cross country teams from Knoxville and Pella are hosting 5K and 10K runs Saturday morning (July 14). Vendors, a volleyball tournament and other activities are planned.
“We wanted to make it more,” Organizer Melinda O'Field said.
Friday night's activities (July 13) include the first launch of the balloons at 6 p.m. Parking and best viewing of the balloon launch for the public will be at North Overlook Beach, according to Kissinger. Sand volleyball contests will take place and the band Nemo Orchestra is scheduled to play from 7-10 p.m.
One could spend much of their Saturday, July 14, at the lake enjoying activities. The next balloon launch will take place at 6 a.m. During the balloon contests, the balloonists will be able to earn points by dropping bags onto targets around the lake.
A pancake breakfast will be served at North Overlook from 7-10 a.m. A “Show and Go” bike ride will begin at 7:30 a.m., at University and Fifth in Pella. Bicyclists will follow the trail to the lake.
The 5K and 10K are scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. Entry fee is $25, and applications are available at http://www.lakeredrockballoonfest.com. All proceeds from the race go to support the Knoxville and Pella cross country teams. Races begin at the beach on North Overlook.
Sand sculpting contests and paddling events are scheduled from 9-11 a.m., both from North Overlook. Family geo-caching will take place from 4-6 p.m., at South Overlook, which will lead up to the next balloon launch at 6 p.m.
Throughout the day on Saturday, Tim Cloyd of Runnells is offering balloon rides for up to four people at a time. Cost is $175 per person.
As balloons go up, they must come down. Each balloonist will have a team of spotters on the ground to follow them and assist them in finding safe places to land. In some cases last year, spotters rushed to make contact with area farmers to get permission for the balloons to land. Any incidental crop damages are covered by the balloonist.
At dusk, Pella CVB DIrector Jill VandeVoort confirmed that the movie “Free Willy” will be played at South Overlook. A “night glow” balloon launch is also scheduled. The event will wrap Sunday morning, July 15, at 6 a.m., with a final balloon launch.
“It's just going to be a fun event,” Kissinger said. The goal of the event is to unite everyone. Volunteers have already put in a great deal of time to organize the event, but will put in even more this weekend.