I’ve been trying to get to a hot air balloon festival for a couple years, and we finally had a chance to go to the WRAL Freedom Balloon Fest over Memorial Day weekend.

I wandered around open-mouthed with childlike awe, which amused the Hubs. Due to some incoming weather, the festival wasn’t able to hold the mass ascension as planned, but we did still get to enjoy the balloon glow as all of the balloons fired their burners simultaneously after the sun went down.

Balloon rides weren’t possible due to impending inclement weather, but even if the weather had permitted, we would’ve had to skip that due to cost. Rides were $300 per person, which sounded absurdly exorbitant to me until someone pointed out the astronomical cost of purchasing, maintaining, flying, and insuring a hot air balloon.

Admission to the festival was free, however, and parking ranged from free to $20 depending on how far you were willing to walk. We love a good hike, so the mile-and-a-quarter walk to ensure free parking was worth it. I highly recommend checking out the festival next year–it was such a magical experience!

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