KDF's Great BalloonFest hoping weather cooperates with races, gl - WDRB 41 Louisville News

KDF's Great BalloonFest hoping weather cooperates with races, glow and glimmer

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Rain could be a problem this week, as the Kentucky Derby Festival works to hold five hot-air balloon events.

The U.S. Bank Great BalloonFest lifts off this Thursday, April 27, and runs through Saturday, April 29. WDRB meteorologist Jeremy Kappell says, "We are looking at some challenges for Thursday morning, Friday evening and Saturday morning." That could put three events in question including the charity race, glow and great balloon race.

The Great Balloon Charity Race is scheduled for 7 a.m. on Thursday at Bowman Field. Kappell says there could be scattered showers and higher winds that could cause problems. The Charity Race pits local celebrities against each other. They're competing to try to win $1,000 for the charity of their choice, including WDRB's Keith Kaiser.  He's racing for the American Red Cross. It's a Hare and Hound format race.  More than a dozen hot air balloons will chase the "Hare" balloon, U.S. Bank, for their shot at victory. The celebrities in the "Hound" balloons will try to drop a bag of bluegrass seed closest to the target for the win.

Waterfront Park is the location for this year's Great Balloon Glimmer Thursday night. Kappell says rain and winds shouldn't be an issue. So the 8:30 p.m. event is scheduled to include 19 balloons lighting up on the North and South Great Lawn at the Kroger Fest-a-Ville.

Friday morning's weather for the Great Balloon Rush-Hour Race looks great. Kappell says it looks dry with light winds. So the race is scheduled to launch at 7 a.m. from Bowman Field.  The Rush-Hour race will offer a beautiful view of the balloons to those in traffic on their way to work especially on the Watterson Expressway.

The Great Balloon Glow looks questionable for Friday night.  Winds should be okay, Kappell says, but the chance for showers and storms goes up.  Gates at the Kentucky Exposition Center open at 6 p.m. to meet the pilots and take in the atmosphere.  At 9 p.m., the balloon pilots will fire their burners and light up the their balloons.  

Storms could be a factor for Saturday morning's Great Balloon Race.  Kappell says winds will be strong and rain could linger in the area. If it goes off, The Great Balloon Race launches at 7 a.m. Saturday from Bowman Field with 21 balloons taking part.  The race originally began in 1973.

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