The Hippo


Apr 24, 2019








Courtesy photo.

Hillsborough Balloon Festival & Fair

When: Thursday, July 6, through Sunday, July 9
Where: Grimes Field, 29 Preston St., Hillsborough
Cost: Free admission; some food and activities require a fee
Schedule of events
Carnival rides: Thursday, 6 to 10 p.m., Friday, 5 to 11 p.m., Saturday, noon to 11 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 8 p.m.
2nd Time Around Band performance: Thursday, 6 to 7:30 p.m.
Beer tent: Thursday, 6 to 9:30 p.m., Friday, 5 to 10:30 p.m., and Saturday, noon to 10:45 p.m.
Santa Croce performance: Thursday, 8 to 10 p.m.
Lawn tractor pulls: Friday, 5 p.m.
Full Throttle performance: Friday, 5:30 to 8 p.m.
Hot air balloon liftoffs: Friday, 6 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Osram Sylvania 5K Road Race: Friday, 6:30 p.m.
Relic Review Band performance: Friday, 8:30 to 11 p.m.
Pancake breakfasts: Saturday and Sunday, 6 to 9 a.m.
The Balloon Twisters performances: Saturday, 1 to 1:45 p.m., and Sunday, 1:45 to 2:30 p.m.
Chris MacKay & the ToneShifters performance: Saturday, 2:30 to 5:30 p.m.
Tom Dixon performance: Saturday, 6:30 to 11 p.m.
Fireworks display: Saturday, 10 p.m. (rain date is Sunday)
Antique car show: Sunday, 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. (registration is 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.)
Hometown Parade: Sunday, noon to 1 p.m.
Pie eating contest: Sunday, 1 to 1:30 p.m.
Curious Creatures performance: Sunday, 2:45 to 3:45 p.m.
The Julie & Brownie Show performance: Sunday, 4 to 4:45 p.m.

Up and away
Hillsborough Balloon Festival & Fair returns

By Matt Ingersoll

 What began by merging a fireman’s muster with a fall hot air balloon festival has since grown over the past three decades into a four-day weekend family event, with midway carnival rides, a parade, live music, food — and, of course, lots and lots of hot air balloons.

Today, the Hillsborough Balloon Festival & Fair is the product of a joint effort by the Hillsborough Lions Club, the town fire department and the Greater Hillsborough Chamber of Commerce, with proceeds benefitting all three organizations. This year’s event will be held from Thursday, July 6, through Sunday, July 9, at Grimes Field in Hillsborough.
Jessica Anctil, a volunteer organizer of the festival’s vendors and entertainment, said rides will be provided by the Webster-based Miller Amusements. Special “all you can ride” bracelets will be available for $20 during the day on Thursday and Friday.
For live music, groups include the 2nd Time Around Band on Thursday, Full Throttle and the Relic Review Band on Friday, and Tom Dixon on Saturday.
“We’ll have a variety of bands performing every night, mostly a mix of rock and classical music,” Anctil said.
Other non-music performances will be balloon animal skits, children’s shows and more.
The festivities begin on Thursday with a beer tent from 6 to 9:30 p.m., rides and music.
On Friday, the Osram Sylvania 5K Road Race will run at 6:30 p.m. along the outskirts of Grimes Field from Bear Hill Road to River and Preston streets. On the field will be tractor pulls and hot air balloon liftoffs that will begin, weather permitting, around 6 p.m., and a “balloon night glow” after sunset around 8:30 p.m.
Saturday’s and Sunday’s events get going much earlier, with both days offering something for everyone throughout the day. Balloons are also scheduled to go up in the air on both days, at 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., and Anctil said tethered balloon rides will also be available during those times. The cost of a ride is $200 per person and most balloons can hold up to two passengers in addition to the pilot. The length of each ride depends on the day’s weather conditions, according to Anctil.
A pancake breakfast will be held at one of the food tents on both days from 6 to 9 a.m. 
“We’ll also have The Balloon Twisters [on Saturday]. … They basically make balloon animals and then put on a skit to go with them,” Anctil said.
A fireworks display is planned for 10 p.m. on Saturday, with Sunday as the rain date.
The annual antique car show is planned for Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the field, with registration from 10:30 to 11 a.m.
At noon on Sunday, the Hometown Parade will kick off from the Hillsborough-Deering elementary, middle and high schools, which are all about a mile west of Grimes Field, on Hillcat Drive.
“The first division [of the parade] starts up with local area fire trucks and firemen marching,” parade chair Kyle Knapton said. “Then there will also be a huge display of area cars and trucks, followed by the floats built by local businesses and nonprofit organizations.”
The floats follow a specific theme each year and are part of a contest in which judges pick the best. Knapton said this year’s theme is “Live Free and Parade.”
“The idea this year was that instead of making it really strict, we wanted these businesses to showcase themselves and pick something they are great at … to show the town and visitors what they offer,” he said.
Knapton said the parade lasts about an hour before coming to an end at Grimes Field.
Following the parade will be the festival’s first annual pie eating contest on the stage from 1 to 1:30 p.m. and a second performance by The Balloon Twisters from 1:45 to 2:30 p.m.
Dozens of food vendors will be on the field for the duration of the festival. The carnival will remain open through 8 p.m. on Sunday.

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