New Haven Balloon Race
New Haven Balloon Race

The Pepsi Bottling Company of New Haven will host its 21st annual balloon race this Saturday, Sept. 25, at the New Haven City Park.

The race includes 20 hot air balloons from all over the Midwest.

The beginning time will be at about 4 p.m. depending on the wind.

The race is a hare and hound race, which means that the hare balloon goes first and marks an "X." The hound balloons follow and try to drop a bean bag onto the X.

The balloon that gets the closest wins the race.

This year, John Ninomiya, a helium cluster balloon pilot from California, will be at the race.

Ninomiya ties helium balloons to a lawn chair and rides on the chair. He is trying to fly in all 50 states and hasn't in Missouri yet.

He came to the event last year, but was unable to take off because of hail.

"It's absolutely incredible," said Ellen Zobrist, owner of the New Haven Pepsi Bottling Company.

The world's largest Pepsi balloon also will be at the event.

Zobrist said the free event is perfect for families.

"You can get out and enjoy the fresh air," she said, "and it's beautiful, especially if you've never seen it before."

The balloon race is sponsored by several local businesses.

The New Haven Chamber of Commerce also will host balloon festival activities on race day, including a parade themed "Living the Fairy Tale in New Haven."

The parade will begin at 1:30 p.m.

It will begin at Circle Park, turn right on Maupin Avenue, turn left on Emmons, left on Douglas, and will cross Highway 100, at the American Legion on to Park Drive. The parade will continue along Park Drive to the city park.

The Chamber will sell food, as well as have a bounce house, a 5K walk/run, a little Mr. and Miss contest and a fireworks display at dusk.

Children ages 3 to 6 can still be entered in the Little Mr. and Miss contest by calling Leanne Bauer at Citizens Bank, 636-237-3051.

The final activity will be Sunday, with a fashion show by Katie Kantley at the old school on Maupin at 2 p.m.

Admission is $3 each or four tickets for $10.

The theme is Vintage Fairy Tale.