One of the Cherry Blossom Festival’s signature events is drifting back to one of its former locations.
The Balloon Glow of years past did not stay tethered in one spot or season but is touching down again at Wesleyan College next spring.
The event began in the festival’s early years at old Porter stadium, which was razed years ago on the current site of the Hilton Garden Inn on the south side of the Mercer University.
Colorful inflated orbs flashing in synchronicity delighted crowds gathered in the stands.
Hot air balloons became one of the festival’s signature attractions, but the event came in as many shapes and sizes as the balloon designs.
In some years, after an evening balloon glow, teams would rise early the next morning and race across town, hoping to touch down on target on the campus of the women’s college on Forsyth Road.
Hissing puffs of air surprised folks in Macon neighborhoods as some balloons made impromptu landings.
Over the years, the balloons’ draw at Wesleyan College had festival organizers looking for better locations to accommodate parking needs.
For a time, the balloons became part of an air show at Macon Downtown Airport.
The event then moved to Al Sihah Shrine Park on the east side of Interstate 75.
The dramatic views of the balloons glowing around the lake were offset by mile-long traffic snafus with only one entrance to grounds off Rocky Creek Road.
A few years ago, Tunes and Balloons became a music and family fun celebration on the campus of what is now Middle Georgia State University.
As the Cherry Blossom Festival extended its reach beyond the third and fourth weeks of March, Tunes and Balloons shifted to the fall.
This week, the festival announced the fall event would not continue.
Instead, organizers will coordinate with Middle Georgia State on a new fall event that will coincide with the university’s homecoming.
The date and scope of the outing has not been determined.
“Bringing the balloon glow back to the spring festival has been consistently mentioned in feedback and survey’s we’ve conducted,” Cherry Blossom president and CEO Jake Ferro stated in a news release.
On April 2, a couple of tethered balloons will be part of the Party on the Green finale on the front lawn of Wesleyan College.
“This will be a great thing for the 2017 festival,” Ferro said.