Randall Tomaras shows where the first Sequim Balloon Festival will be held on the east side of Sequim. Submitted photo
Sequim Balloon Festival organizers are looking for Sequim-Dungeness Valley residents interested in hosting balloonists and crew members before, during and shortly after the Sept. 1-3 event.
Randall Tomaras, balloon festival executive director, said at least 26 balloonists and crew members are expected to participate in the first festival, to be staged at 36 acres of the Grant Farm hayfield with access via West Sequim Bay Road and entrance at Washington Harbor Loop.
“We are looking for about 13 host homes,” Tomaras said. “If they have a guest house or an RV pad with hookups, that is probably the best.”
Tomaras, the festival’s balloon team coordinator Crystal Stout and festival volunteer David Kruth were successful Saturday in recruiting six hosts who are members of the Experimental Aircraft Association Olympic Peninsula Chapter 430 based at the Sequim Valley Airport hangar in Carlsborg.
Call Kruth to ask questions or volunteer a home for the balloonists who are traveling to Sequim from around the region to participate in the first balloon festival.
Kruth can be contacted at 360-808-4444 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tomaras said balloonist host homes were being sought to save the balloonists lodging and travel expenses, especially since hot-air balloons cost thousands of dollars to maintain and replace after limited hours of use.
Stout has been flying balloons in Washington and Oregon for 27 years and is a third-generation balloonist.
Balloonists will launch from a field at Sequim Valley Airport, possibly as early as 6 a.m. during opening day, Saturday, Sept. 1, and are expected to float eastbound toward the festival site.
A night-time Hot Air Balloon Glow with a reflection pond on the festival site, a classic car show and 17 bands including the main act, Rare Earth, are among the main attractions. The bands will perform on the main stage at the south end of the festival site.
A pre-festival concert with platinum-album classic rock band, Rare Earth, and a special guest to be announced, is scheduled to open the festival at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 31, at the main stage.
Besides music, the festival will feature a classic car show, “Hot Gas & Gears,” with cars showcased in the Balloon Glow event; balloon rides; juried arts and crafts booths; two nights of street dancing before the glow; a 5K, 10K and 21K Volksmarch walk on Olympic Discovery Trail adjacent to the south end of the festival site on East Washington Street; a food court; a beer and wine garden; and a children’s play area.
The festival was founded to boost the economy in the Sequim valley at a time when the tourist season is winding down over Labor Day weekend, Tomaras said, adding it is also a fun activity and good reason to visit the North Olympic Peninsula. The festival’s official Web site is at sequimballoonfestival.com.