Thousands Expected To Attend Poteau Balloon Fest This Weekend

POTEAU (KFSM) -- If the weather conditions are right, expect to see the Oklahoma skies dotted with hot air balloons this weekend. The Poteau Balloon Fest is the largest event of the year for the city and attracts thousands of folks from across the area.

Pilots will be prepping their hot balloons this weekend and people who aren't afraid of heights are looking forward to catching a ride. The Poteau Balloon Fest is on Friday (Oct. 20) and Saturday (Oct. 21). According to organizer Karen Wages, "We're the longest running balloon fest in Oklahoma."

Each year, people look forward to soaring across the skies of Oklahoma. If you prefer to stay on the ground, there's also carnival rides, food trucks, monster truck rides, helicopter rides, pony rides, a petting zoo and an ATV/UTV Mud Race.

A new attraction this year is "meet the pilots" where people will have the opportunity to meet one on one to learn how the big balloons work.

The tethered balloon rides will be given on Friday and Saturday nights. A ride will cost you $10 per person, weather and wind permitting.

The festival brings in around 30,000 people to the area. "We're number ten in balloon festivals in the United States so the main attraction are the balloons.' said Wages. "You don't get to see balloons every day, especially in Oklahoma."

"This bring a lot each year to the community because our businesses do well," said Wages. "It's a big economic boost for our city and that's the soul purpose of having the festival is to have something that showcases Poteau."

The gates open Friday at the LeFlore County Fairgrounds at noon. Armbands are $5 per person and will be good for both days.

Parking at the fairgrounds is also $5.

On Saturday, gates open at 9 a.m.