Hot Air Balloons Return To Cordele

Published 11:54 am Tuesday, June 9, 2020

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While the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the cancellation of many events across Georgia and the United States, including much of the Watermelon Days Festival, Hot Air Balloons will return to the Cordele skies this weekend! These floating gentle-giants have become a staple of the June Watermelon over the past few years and organizers have found a way to invite them to town while still following the guidelines and best practices outlined by the CDC and The Governor’s Office.

“We are excited to once again to have these beautiful balloons in our city and to see them flying overhead and on display this weekend,” said Chamber of Commerce President Monica Simmons. “With all that has happened in the past few months and all the cancellations that have taken place, it will be nice to have something else in Cordele to spark a little joy!”

The majority of the pilots traveling to Cordele this weekend come from the surrounding area; Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina, and over the past few years have fallen in love with Cordele, its hospitality, and  its watermelons on their yearly trip to Crisp County.

Something new this year will be a “Hot Air Balloon Drive-Thru Glow” Normally the balloons would inflate one evening at dusk and allow the spectators to walk throughout the field and view the balloons up close as they glow like lanterns against the night sky. In an attempt to prevent large gatherings of people and to help with social distancing, the balloonists will be inflating their aircraft in the parking lot of the Crisp County Youth Ball Complex right in front of fields 1-5. The public is encouraged to come and ‘drive-by’ the balloons starting at 8:30 pm on Friday, June 12th. The glow will last about 45 minutes to an hour. You can enter the ball complex from either Pecan St or 8th Avenue and drive through to view the balloons. The glow will be weather dependent; light winds less than 6 knots, and no rain or thunderstorm activity in the area.

In addition to the Friday Night Glow, the balloon will be flying over Cordele Saturday morning and evening as well as Sunday morning. Balloons typically fly right at sunrise and within 2 hours of sunset, when the winds are calm and the weather is the most stable. You can look for the balloons in the sky starting between 6:30 and 7:00 am on Saturday and Sunday and around 6:30 pm on Saturday Evening. There are teams of people who ‘chase’ the balloons once they have taken off and try to determine where they will land based on where they took off and where the wind is taking them. If you would like to follow along, you can go like the ‘Watermelon Days Hot Air Balloon Festival’ Page on Facebook where the pilots will be posting weather updates and where they are taking off from shortly before each flight. If you come across a balloon that has landed, feel free to approach, look, and ask questions in small numbers, and remember to remain socially distanced!

This will be the fourth consecutive year that The Cordele-Crisp Tourism Council has provided the resources to fund and bring the hot air balloons to Cordele in June and it could not be done without them! A special thanks to them for their hard work and support each year!

For More Information please contact

Monica Simmons
Cordele-Crisp Chamber of Commerce
(229) 273-1668

Benjamin Drennan
Hot Air Balloons Director
(229) 322-2275