Colorful skies at the Poteau Balloon Festival
the Poteau Balloonfest offers family fun
The hot-air balloons are the undisputed stars of the show and will fly over Poteau for a few hours after sunrise and before sunset each day. Beautiful even on the ground, the balloons will decorate the festival with lighted “balloon glows” for a few hours after dark each day.
Tethered balloon rides, weather and atmospheric pressure permitting, are available for those who want to go up but not too high. Helicopter rides will be available for a charge both days.
The Poteau Chamber of Commerce is presenting the festival with a host of local sponsors. The Boys & Girls Club of Poteau will be the beneficiary of some of the proceeds and local civic groups, schools and other charitable organizations will benefit by participating as vendors.
“It’s a community event that allows the community to benefit,” said Karen Wages, president of the Poteau Chamber. Wages said two full days of entertainment and exciting activities on the ground will go on between the balloons’ morning and evening flights, starting at noon Friday and 10 a.m. Saturday, with free music all day and concerts at night.
Several events within the festival are planned this year, including a carnival, food vendors and entertainment by the Indian Territory Pistoliers, America’s Best Frisbee Dogs, Joe & Jr. – a horse and dog act – magician Jonathan Meyer, a Mutts Gone Nuts show and BMX Freestyle Team stunts. There also will be Cutest and Ugliest Dog Contests, Pet Costume Contest and a Little Miss & Mister Balloonfest Pageant.
Bikes, Balloons & BBQ, a KCBS-sanctioned cookoff
Friday night’s Bikes, Balloons & BBQ is $10 per person, which includes balloonfest admission and allows parking inside the arena. A judged bike show and Saturday poker run also are part of the event. Proceeds benefit the Boys & Girls Club of LeFlore County. Admission to the arena includes the Bike Show, a 7 p.m. concert and a sampling of the various competitors’ barbecue. The crowd will help choose the winner by buying plates and sampling the food. Ponderosa BBQ's very own Moe Cason will make a personal appearance and will meet and greet the public. This year, the barbecue cook-off is sanctioned by the Kansas City BBQ Society.
Rumble on the River Mud Pit Racing
Top national mud racers will race through 300-foot-long mud pits, including The Swamp Pit, a 6-foot-deep mud hole so challenging any driver who clears it wins a cash prize on the spot.
5k Walk/Run and Wild Horse Century Cycling
Register now at the Poteau Chamber for a 5K race or bicycle racing.
Advance armbands for the Poteau Balloonfest will be sold until 2:30 p.m. Oct. 19 at the Poteau Chamber of Commerce or by calling 918-647-9178. At the gate, armband admission prices will be $5 per person. Children 3 and under are free.
What to know when you go:
• Please do not park on highways or streets to watch the balloons.
• Maps and parking information are available at www.poteauchamber.com
• All events are weather-permitting and some times may be delayed.