Family friendly event offers different fall festival

Q: Fall is finally here and the weather is starting to cool down. My wife and I are looking for family-friendly event to attend. Do you have a recommendation?

A: You should consider the 7th Annual Owl-O-Ween Hot Air Balloon Festival at Kennesaw State University. The two-day event is Friday and Saturday (6-11 p.m.) and features 16-20 hot air balloons.

Imagine 100,000 basketballs in one grouping. That’s the size of the largest balloons when inflated.

The event is held at KSU’s 88-acre Sports and Entertainment Park in and around the stadium, just 20 miles north of downtown Atlanta, and less than one mile from both I-75 and I-575.

“There are a lot of people who do scary really well around here, so we want to fill in that family friendly, fun Halloween piece,” said Zach Kerns, executive director and general manager of the Sports and Entertainment Park at KSU.

Organizers said they are happy the weather is expected to be good.

“Fall is finally here. We are counting our blessings that it’s not 95 degrees any more. People enjoy a fall festival,” he said.

The event features trick-or-treating (at the balloons), circus performers, silent disco, tethered balloon rides, costume party and contests, entertainment stages, live music, vendor marketplace and an artist market.

Even though the festival in geared toward children, adults will enjoy the event as well.

“I’m a recovering full-grown adult and I still get a child-like whimsy when I watch a balloon get inflated. It is still a fun opportunity” to watch the balloons, Kerns said.

“If you get there at the right time, you can actually be right beside it as it inflates and stands up,” he said.

A benefit with any large event, Kerns said, is the number of KSU students who are involved in planning a big event. “This is an active learning experience for our students.”

Other than the tethered balloon rides, kids activities are free once they get in the park.

Tickets are $14 for adults (13 and older), $6 for children (3-12 years old) and free under the age of three.

About 50,000 people are expected to attend.

The address is 3200 George Busbee Parkway at First Third Bank Stadium in Kennesaw.

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