Thursday, May 30th-Saturday, June 1st 2013
The South’s oldest balloon event and the United States’ only long distance hot air balloon race will begin (weather permitting) with a mass ascension of bright and colorful hot air balloons, in North Georgia’s Alpine Village – Helen. Race competitors and local flyers will take to the sky at 7:00 am, Thursday, May 30th, 2013. If the weather conditions are too windy or storms are forecast, the take off will be postponed until conditions are acceptable.
The people of Helen believe that Helen, Georgia is the center of their world and in Columbus’ day the Atlantic Ocean was the ‘edge of the Earth’. Thus, Pete Hodkinson came up with the concept for the Helen to the Atlantic Balloon Race. The race begins in Helen and the finish line is I-95 (anywhere between Maine and Miami). The shortest distance is 225 miles and the race usually takes two days. It has been done in one day, while some races have taken as many as four days. Six to ten balloons will be competing in the cross country race.
The winner is the first person to cross I-95, or whoever is ahead at sunset on Friday, May 31st, 2013.
While the competition to the Atlantic continues, other balloonist compete in local events beginning Thursday evening around 6:00 pm. Local flying events will take place also on Friday and Saturday. The balloons will fly around 7:30 am and 6:00 pm each day (weather permitting). The balloons will only fly for around 1 to 2 hours. There will be many opportunities available to the public; assisting with the inflations, being a part of a chase crew, taking a tethered ride in a balloon or a champagne flight over the mountains. There will be approximately 20 – 25 balloons flying locally.
There will be NO ballooning activities during the middle of the day. Helen offers many sights and attractions to keep one busy when the balloons are not flying.
Although some balloons may tether instead of flying at flight times, the main time tethered rides will be made available to the public will be on Saturday evening, beginning around 7:30 pm. The balloons will be tied to the ground and go up approximately 50 – 75 feet. Tethered rides last approximately 10 minutes.
For more information contact the Helendorf Inn, 706-878-2271 or