LANSING, Mich. — Need something to do this Fourth of July weekend? How about checking out one of the best air shows in the nation? Battle Creek Field of Flight Air Show and Balloon Festival is back, and it's bringing all the noise to Kellogg Field.
This weekend, you can experience what festival officials are saying is one of their largest shows taking over Battle Creek. They expect to have about 130,000 people in attendance.
"We're extremely blessed to have the return of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, we have the F-35A, the F-35C, we have the F-18. I mean, our show is just loaded with the military this year," said Executive Director Barbara Haluszka.
The whole air show itself is about five hours long. But, that's just the tip of the ice berg of all the fun events you can enjoy from Thursday until Monday.
"We have two big huge firework shows. Once again, that's we've it's kind of another one of our staple events, plus the Twilight Night Air Show, the Twilight Air Show is going to be on Friday night, and I am telling you, it's going to be one of the biggest and the best that people have seen." Haluszka said.
And then, you can see the main event for the fireworks show on July 4.
"We've got bands, the carnival, there's something different going on all the time, the food vendors are amazing. And you know, the hot air balloons, which really started us, we have a serious competition with 40 hot air balloons. And everybody loves to see them when they can launch from the field or fly into the field is just beauty," Haluszka said.
Phil Clinger is the competition director for the balloon festival. He also used to compete in the competition back in the day.
"I actually first got involved with the balloon festival as crew in 1995. And then I started flying in 97 as a pilot, and then I first flew the event and 99. So I competed in the event for many, many years," Clinger said. "We have pilots coming from all over the nation to come to Battle Creek to fly."
He said flying isn't really scary and compares it to scuba diving.
"You're just floating in the atmosphere, and it's a very, very peaceful feeling," Clinger said.
If you want to watch the balloons launch from the field or fly into the field, you'll need to be out there by 6:30 p.m. They'll be competing for the championship title and a $12,500 prize.
"We do have some really good air show acts as far as the balloons go, those surprises won't be revealed until the pilots get to hear in the briefing," Clinger said. "Some challenging competition and things to make them to make them really think."
And you can actually help out the balloonist this weekend, if you have a piece of property big enough for them to land on. Just place out a white sheet as a form of permission.
Parking is $5 from Friday through Monday and admission is $13 per person. Children 3 feet and shorter get in free.
For more details on the Battle Creek Field of Flight Air Show and Balloon Festival, click here.
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