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History Up High – Hot Air Balloon & Kite Festival

SPARTANBURG, S.C. — Set against the backdrop of Walnut Grove Plantation, Spartanburg County Historical Association’s “History Up High” promises to be a day of exhilarating activities intertwined with a deep appreciation for the historical significance of kites and hot air balloons. Scheduled for Saturday, April 13, the event will run from noon to 8 p.m., offering attendees a chance to immerse themselves in the magic of flight and learn about the intriguing past of these airborne marvels.

“We want folks to come out and have a really good time – be active in the field flying kites, watch the kite fliers, balloon flight, but also be learning a little something at the same time,” Lauren Prestino Friedrich, one of the event organizers, said. “Not too far away, there is some hot air balloon history. There was actually a crash of a hot air balloon during the Civil War, and the pilot was taken as a prisoner because they thought he was a spy. And then after that, hot air balloons were used for spying during the Civil War. So, we do like to have a little tinge of history in everything that we do, make people learn while they’re having fun, which is sort of the best way to learn.”

The event schedule is packed with activities for attendees of all ages. From kite flying sessions to balloon rides, live music performances, and engaging activities hosted by local organizations, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

“From about 12 to about 4 p.m., the kite flying will be happening. Bring your own kite, or we’ll have some kites for purchase,” Lauren explained. “And then starting about 4 p.m., the balloons will be doing tethered rides and pleasure rides. A pleasure ride where they will go into the balloon basket and take off. The tethered rides are connected to vehicles that will be in the field, and they’ll go up about four stories and give people kind of an idea of what a balloon flight is like. We’ll also have live music by Jonathan Stevens and The Stubborn Hearts Band. They’ll be playing from 3 until 5 p.m. We will have vendors, and we’ll have a face painter. The Spartanburg County Library will be here doing some fun activities and the Spartanburg Science Center will be here as well. So lots of things to do throughout the whole day.”

Event Details:

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  • Date: April 13th, Noon – 8 p.m. (Rain date: April 14th)
  • Location: Walnut Grove Plantation, 1200 Otts Shoals Rd, Roebuck, SC 29376
  • Admission:
    • Adults: $12
    • Children (3-16): $10
  • Additional:
    • Tethered hot air balloon rides: $20 (weather permitting)
    • Bring chairs or blankets; leave coolers and alcohol at home.

Schedule of Events

  • Noon – 4 p.m. – Kite Flying
  • 3 p.m. – Rokkaku Kite Battle
  • 3 p.m. – Balloons Begin Arriving
  • 3 – 5 p.m. – Live Music by Jonathan Stephens & The Stubborn Hearts
  • 4 – 7 p.m.- Tethered Balloon Rides (weather dependent)
  • 6 – 6:30 p.m.- Pleasure Flights (weather dependent)
  • 7:45 p.m. – Balloon GLOW
  • Historic building mini tours available from Noon – 7 p.m.
  • Kids Zone open from Noon – 7:30 p.m.
  • Face Painting from 1 – 6 p.m.
  • Vendors, outbuildings, nature trail & family cemetery open until 7:30 p.m.

Volunteers are still needed for various tasks, from kite assistance and repair to assisting balloon crews. For more information about the event or volunteering, visit spartanburghistory.org/historyuphigh.

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