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Annual Balloon Festival returns to Pahrump

Officials from the Pahrump Valley Chamber of Commerce said this week that they believe the Pahrump Hot Air Balloon Festival is bound to attract attendees by the hundreds.

The three-day event, including a Saturday car show, begins at 4 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 21, and runs through Sunday afternoon, Feb. 23.

New addition

Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jenney Sartin said for the first time in its seven-year history, untethered hot air balloon rides will be offered to the general public at Petrack Park.

“Previously, they would have to be sponsored,” Sartin said. “We will still have the tethered rides as well, but we decided to expand the fun, and allow the public to be part of it. It’s $150 for the balloon rides. We like to set the correct expectations for people who want to ride in the balloons. On Friday we are going to try to get most of our sponsors up, who were very generous this year. For the general public, It’s first come, first serve. They get there at 6 a.m., and we wait to see if the balloons can go up according to the weather. If everything’s a go, we put our sponsors in the up first, then start selling tickets to the general public. We like everybody to come early.”

Assortment of vendors

Though there is no cost to enter the park grounds, Chamber of Commerce Event Coordinator Donna Corey said any and all costs are associated with purchasing items from vendors and other attractions during the event, including the rodeo and carnival rides.

“We have upward of 85 vendors, with a few new ones this year,” Corey said. “There will be Uncle Buck’s Direct Alaskan Smokehouse and he will have king crab sandwiches, spicy reindeer sausage, along with crab clam chowder. We have Twice Baked from Las Vegas, which is a new vendor. It’s a pretty good mix of local and out-of-town vendors this year.”

Regarding the carnival, Sartin said the chamber entered into an agreement with a brand new provider this year.

“Davis Amusements, who provided the carnival every year has gone out of business, but we were fortunate to find another one. Paradise Amusements is the name of the company. The issue at the last minute of course, is always the fact that these carnival companies are booked way in advance, and they travel. We entered into an agreement with them, and so we will have a carnival at the balloon festival event this year, so it was perfect timing.”

Light up the sky

Corey, meanwhile, said since her time as the chamber’s events coordinator, the annual balloon festival seems to gain more popularity each year, especially the “Glow Show.”

“There are more and more people coming to watch the Glow Show,” she said. “You don’t have to pay to watch the Glow Show, but people can get a ticket for $10, which gets you in closer to the balloons, but you can be in field “B” at the park, which is open to the general public, and everyone can see it. It’s still a good vantage point, and beautiful. We have music, and Ski Censki, who will be announcing again this year, and Alan Bond from Lisa Bond Realty doing music for us. They blow up their balloons as the music plays and they synchronize the music to the glowing balloons. It’s beautiful to watch.”

Pre-flight analysis

Corey noted that there are a few requirements for those who wish to take flight in a balloon.

She also spoke about the popular Pahrump Valley High School rodeo at McCullough Arena, just west of the park.

“They will have to know your weight, and that is for safety purposes,” she said. “No one under 8 years old can ride in the balloon. Tickets for the rodeo are $15 each for adults and $10 each for children. Please buy a ticket and go to the rodeo because you are supporting your local high school. A wristband that will get you into both days of the rodeo and into the VIP section of the Glow Show, is $20. The pre-sale carnival tickets are $20, but we will stop the pre-sale ticket sales on Thursday at 5 p.m. after that, carnival tickets at the park are $25.”

Virgin voyage

Sartin, meanwhile said she is looking forward to her first hot air balloon experience coming up this weekend.

“I am very excited, and officials with the Federal Aviation Administration, (FAA), will also be at the park to make sure and observe that we are not violating any air restrictions, and also to provide general information to the public about safety and what to do in an emergency situation. They decided they want to be a partner with us this year. Obviously, this is an event that brings business from outside of town into Pahrump, so the more that we can get to come in, the better.”

Atmospheric conditions

The weather forecast for this weekend calls for sunny skies on Friday with a high of 70 degrees.

Saturday’s daytime high is expected to reach 65 degrees with mostly cloudy skies with a little rain.

On Sunday, expect mostly sunny conditions with a daytime high of 66 degrees.

The hours for the 2020 Pahrump Hot Air Balloon Festival are Friday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Petrack Park is located at 150 N. Highway 160 at the intersection of West Basin Avenue.

For additional information, call 775-727-5800.

Contact reporter Selwyn Harris at sharris@pvtimes.com. On Twitter: @pvtimes

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