The second annual event will be held at the Shrader Farm on W. Dumplin Valley Road in Dandridge, TN, and will showcase East Tennessee agriculture, family and community fun, and over 15 hot air balloons.
October has arrived in East Tennessee and following close behind is the second annual Lakeside of the Smokies Hot Air Balloon Fest. Organizers and volunteers are excited to host the event once again after having to cancel due to the COVID-19 Pandemic in 2020.
“Event planning these last two years hasn’t been an easy job. But, the moment these balloons inflate, it’ll all be worth it!” reflects festival director, Sarah Mills.
The festival will be held across two days, Saturday & Sunday, October 23 & 24, starting at 2:00 p.m. Both days will close with a Balloon Glow Finale. This year’s event will be held on the Shrader Family Farm at 295 W. Dumplin Valley Road, Dandridge, which is situated between Jefferson County High School and the Patriot Academy.
The 2021 festival will once again feature a wide array of activities including live music, a kids’ fair, a large food truck court, over 50 local craft and artisan vendors, the Nine Lakes Wine Garden, the Smoky Mountain Antique Tractor show, and of course, hot air ballooning activities! All untethered balloon rides are now sold out but tethered rides are available for cash purchase on-site on a first-come, first-served basis.
“Balloon activities are extremely weather dependent, and timing of flights can vary with shifting winds and weather patterns,” says the festival’s Balloon Meister, Scott Griswold. “We are all hoping for calm winds and blue skies, but safety is always the most important part of flying.” Weather updates and the percentage likelihood of balloon activity will be posted regularly on the festival’s Twitter: @LOTSBalloonFest, other social media pages, via announcements from the stage, and at the event’s information tent.
New to the festival line up this year is the Knoxville Brewery Beer Tasting Garden. Attendees can also upgrade their admission passes for an “Elevated Experience” VIP ticket which has premium balloon activity viewing, catered farm to table fare, and wine tastings from some of the Nine Lakes Wine Region’s most prestigious wineries.
“So much planning and preparation go into an event of this magnitude,” said Jefferson County Director of Tourism, Lauren Hurdle. “It is events such as these that greatly increase our tourism economic impact, but also provide a fun family event for our local citizens. We are proud to host this event once again and showcase the beauty of Jefferson County during the beautiful fall season.”
The festival is the main fundraising event of the recently incorporated charitable organization, Jefferson County Festival Charities (JCFC). The non-profit hopes to not only raise spirits with its premier event but also give additional funds for other area non-profits through its ticket sales.
The festival also relies on the support of local businesses and sponsors. “We wouldn’t be able to host this amazing event without the support of our amazing sponsors such as Visit Jefferson County, Bush’s Beans, Food City, Morristown Signs, and Grayson Subaru,” Mills said. “We’ve been continually amazed by how giving and supportive they have been of our organization’s efforts.”
Attendees can pre-purchase general admission “one-day-only” or “two-day” tickets on the festival’s website, www.LOTSBalloonFest.com/buy-tickets, or at the gate. Other ticketed items include the Nine Lakes Wine Garden, The Beer Garden, festival merchandise, as well as hot air balloon rides. Parking is FREE and is located on the event site. Shuttle rides will be provided to those needing assistance.