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Southern California Wine Country’s Biggest Party – The Temecula Valley Balloon & Wine Festival – Just Got Bigger!

May 22, 2019 Visit California No Comments Email Email

What is new at Southern California Wine Country’s biggest party? The Temecula Valley Balloon & Wine Festival rolls out a feast for all senses at Lake Skinner Recreation Area, May 31 through June 2, 2019 and organizers have invented new experiences while improving others.

It starts with eye-popping dawns. As the sun rises over rolling vineyards, colorful hot air balloons dot the crystalline blue skies. This is an up-close personal experience where passengers become part of the crew and photographers are often seen running towards the shore to capture a coveted image of balloon reflections in the lake.

Hot Air Balloon flights from the Festival grounds are Saturday and Sunday and make for the beautiful mass ascensions. All ballooning activities are for early birds and weather permitting. Beginning at 5:30 the balloonists spread their canopies and begin inflating while the riders help. Riders check-in ahead of Festival gate hours. By 6 a.m. the fields are full of balloons in various stations of inflation and flying. This is the best picture taking time.

Reserve a flight at https://hotairtours.com/grape-escape/booking/balloon/2 and are $225 per person. The ticket includes Festival admission, a 45-60-minute flight, a three-hour adventure discovering how hot air balloons fly, champagne, mimosa or orange juice toast and a certificate commemorating your flight.

The colorful balloons rise in cool temperatures and cannot fly in high winds or hot temperatures. For this reason, guests are advised to get to the Festival early and check the weather. Look for wind speeds 10 mph or higher, clouds and fog. Winds over 10 mph will curtail flights and tethers. Low clouds and fog can delay the launch or cause the balloons to fly outside of the park where skies are blue. Sometimes they land back inside the park. Tethering, during low clouds is usually possible.

Afternoons and evenings feature concerts on the main and wine stages and the lineups this year are packed with exciting lineups. Friday’s lineup includes Chase Bryant, A Thousand Horses, and the special balloon glow. Local country favorite Kanan Road will also be playing on the wine stage. Shannon Rae & 100 Proof will open the main stage.

Saturday, 3 Doors Down headlines on the main stage sponsored by Pechanga Resort & Casino. Also performing Saturday are Soul Asylum and Dishwalla. The Forty Nineteens will open the stage at 4 p.m.

Sunday is country fun day at the Festival with Big & Rich and Russell Dickerson in concert. Coffey Anderson will open the show on the main stage, while Mettle and Electric Vinyl play on the wine stage. Both Saturday and Sunday will feature bands from iHeart Radio.

What else is new? Friday features a new evening balloon glow experience “Toast the Glow” with more balloons lined up on the hill of the main stage amphitheater. This gives guests a better view of the synchronized glows. During the glow, the balloons are tethered to the ground. Pilots ignite their burners – it’s that thing that heats the air inside the canopy – and this causes a luminescent glow. Add music with a strong beat and you have dancing balloons.

This is Southern California Wine Country where the vibe is casual, fine wine abundant and lazy afternoons in the sun are complemented with a variety of food experiences. Festival food pairing includes local premium and estate wines paired with scrumptious cuisine prepared on stage by top regional chefs. The international food court offers everything from Cajun to Greek, and All-American burgers to smoked tri-tip.

Temecula’s wine country has experienced explosive growth and wine lovers can enjoy over 50 different wines from up to 18 wineries during the weekend. Wine Enthusiast magazine named the Temecula Valley one of the 10 Best Wine Getaways for 2019. The Festival offers a variety of ways to discover a favorite wine in the valley that is known as Southern California Wine Country. Wine tasting is $2 per taste. Winemaker reserve packages include a larger wine glass, plus eight 1-ounce pours. There are only 1,000 of these packages sold, and the tasting is in a private area. Cost is $35 online.

Between balloons, wine and concerts what can you do at the Festival? Take a walk on the wild side and visit the Festival’s new watering hole. Guests can relax in the garden setting of the “Moon Lounge” sip microbrews and play lawn games like corn hole, Jenga and checkers while kids can bounce away on the inflatable attractions. Kids and adults can walk on water in giant water balls or take a short zip line.

Walk on the Wild side is an animal show from Wild Wonders, a wild animal refuge in Bonsall. This organization has over 120 animal ambassadors from around the world and will provide 20-minute shows Saturday and Sunday. Each presentation showcases these animal ambassadors with descriptions of their “in-the-wild” home, special adaptations they possess, and what challenges they face. There are six shows per day.

At the end of the day, Uber, Lyft and ride share guests will have the Stella Artois Ride Share lounge to relax and refresh while waiting for their rides. This is a free hot spot zone and provided by IAS and Southern California Toyota Dealers. Bimbo Bakeries, USA is providing the lounge with snacks and grilled cheese sandwiches, while Don Francisco will sponsor the coffee. Water and other non-alcoholic drinks will be provided.

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