Bruce Lavorgna hits the gas burner on a balloon during last year’s inaugural balloon festival Daily Record photo by Gerald Castillo
Kyle planning a bigger ‘Pie in the Sky’
KYLE – Following the success of last year’s inaugural event, the city of Kyle is on track to host an even better Kyle Pie in the Sky Hot Air Balloon Festival this Labor Day weekend.
More than 12,000 guests attended the 2017 festival over the course of the weekend. Special Events Coordinator Sarah Watson said the city listened to everyone who commented on the event last year and has worked to bring those ideas to life.
“We expect this year to be even better than last,” Watson said. “More hot air balloons, more pie options, a larger kids zone and tethered rides are just some of the improvements. We have also greatly improved our shuttle system and traffic management plan.”
The festival includes about 25 hot air balloons that will stretch out across the fields at Lake Kyle. Watson said the event includes glows on both Friday and Saturday nights. She said those are a big draw for festival-goers. What’s a glow?
“It’s when all the balloons light up their propane burners to the music against the night sky,” Watson said. “The visual effect is stunning.”
Tethered rides, where pilots take passengers up about 50 feet while still attached to their vehicles on the ground, will be an additional price and will be first-come-first-served at the event.
In addition, the event will include two mass ascensions, one each on Saturday and Sunday mornings at sunrise. All balloon events are weather permitting and the festival’s Balloon Meister, a licensed balloon pilot with more than 20 years of flying experience, will make the final decision about glows, tethered rides and ascensions.
“Safety is always our top priority,” Watson said.
Event organizers will once again attempt to reach a Guinness World Book record for the most people named Kyle in one place at the same time.
“If you or someone you know is named Kyle, invite them to be part of making history,” Watson said. “All patrons named Kyle get into the festival for free if they pre-register.”
Other enhancements to the event include three pie eating contests, all sponsored by Broadway Bank of Kyle, and bigger name musical acts. Guests will also have pie options for breakfast.
“The after effects of Hurricane Harvey last year hindered our efforts somewhat,” Watson said. “From generators being needed at the Texas coast to balloonists whose equipment was water logged to the gas shortage, we weren’t able to include some vendors and some balloons.”
She added that this year, weather permitting, she hopes to bring a bigger, longer, better event to Kyle. On the weekend mornings at sunrise, weather permitting, the entire field of balloons will ascend and float over Kyle. Last year, the ascension was Saturday only and just a few balloons took off. With two mornings this go ‘round, Watson said her hopes are high for the launches.
“It’s really a spectacle to behold,” she said “Balloons can stop people in their tracks to watch the colorful display floating overhead.”
Watson said she was excited to confirm that the Wells Fargo special shape balloon, which looks like the bank’s stagecoach image, will once again highlight the festival lineup.
“The center stage balloon is massive and stands about 90 feet tall and 100 feet wide when inflated,” she said.
Watson believes visitors will love all the balloons, but that the special shapes are a real treat.
“That balloon only makes about eight appearances a year,” she said. “We are extremely proud that Wells Fargo selected to appear at Kyle Pie in the Sky again this year.”
Kyle Pie in the Sky will take place Aug. 31 – Sept. 2 at Lake Kyle, located at 700 Lehman Rd. in Kyle, Texas. More information and tickets are available at www.kyletxpieinthesky.com. Watson said guests can also check Groupon later in July, which will offer a limited number of discounted tickets.
“Folks will also hear about the event on regional radio stations, in Central Texas area movie theaters and on the city’s social media,” she added.
Parking for the free, continuously running shuttles will be at Lehman High School and Tobias Elementary School. Several buses are ADA accessible.
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