balloonfest1The South Country Balloon Festival in South Kingston, Rhode Island has become a family tradition for us.  We started going in 2007 and it is now an event we attend with a number of other families. The event is in its’ 32nd year and is held at The University of Rhode Island Athletic Fields in Kingston, Rhode Island and usually occurs the second weekend in July.

The Festival is the main fundraiser for the Rotary Club of Wakefield and 100% of the proceeds from this event are donated and used for charitable purposes. Naturally, the main feature is the approximately 15 balloons that show themselves off starting Friday evening with the Balloon Glow. The balloonists also offer, at a cost, tethered rides during the glow, floating about 150 feet off the ground. The flames that heat the balloons provide the “glow” in the darkening sky on both Friday and Saturday evenings.  So, what can you find here besides the joy of looking the Hot Air Balloons?

balloonfest3During the Friday evening glow, John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band perform, and we enjoy putting down blankets, breaking outthe food and letting the kids run around and dance.  Eventually though the kids want to go watch the pigs race, try fishing at the Catch & Release pond, take a pony ride, visit the petting zoo, or watch the Airborne Jugglers and other shows. The kids absolute favorite though has to be the tractor ‘train’ that takes the under seven bunch for a short ride.

balloonfest2Athough many of the activities are included in the admission, some like the pony rides, the amusements rides, as well as food from the various vendors cost additional money. We keep the cost down by bringing our own food and drink that we backpack around and only spend extra money on the amusement rides.

Be sure to add this event to your Rhode Island ‘must-do’ list.  Heck, even Yankee Magazine has named this event in the Top 20 Rhode Island Events.