2011 Balloonfest rolls into town tonight

The Poteau Balloonfest is here, or atleast it will be as of tomorrow!Armbands for the event will be on saleat the chamber until 4 p.m. on Friday.Armbands are your admission to whatpromises to be the biggest Balloonfestyet.The LeFlore County Fairgrounds willplay host to this year’s Balloonfest, asthe size of the event has grown exponentiallysince its inception. PDN is going toattempt to give you a rundown of all theactivities taking place this weekend, sohold on to your seats.Included in the price of your armbandis admission to the mud pit races at 2p.m. on Saturday. Watch from the bleachersor the comfort of your own lawnchair as 40 drivers compete for the $5,000purse. There will also be a children’spower wheels race at 2 p.m. on Saturday.Bring your child and their power wheelcar for a chance to win glory and prizes.Admission to the Saturday concert is$10 for general admission and $15 forreserved seating. Also on Saturday, therewill be tethered balloon rides in two twohourintervals, weather permitting.Tickets for tethered balloon rides are $10and can be purchased at the State Farmbooth at the fairgrounds. Tickets to ridethe “Mean Machine” monster truck are$7 and can be purchased at the entranceto the Mean Machine.Helicopter rides are also available thisyear, from 4 p.m. until dark on Friday,and from 9 a.m. until dark on Saturday.Helicopter rides cost $36. Look for signsdirecting you to the helicopter pad insidethe Balloonfest.If helicopters don’t tickle your fancy,covered wagon rides at the Balloonfestare free and D&D Cowboy Cadillac carriagerides are available with your donation.Barbecue can be purchased from thecontestants in the Bikes, Balloons, andBarbecue contest on Saturday. There willbe lots of other types of food available aswell. The bike portion of the contest willbe held Friday night in the fairgroundsarena starting at 6 p.m.Tonight only, Balloonfest will playhost to a complete carnival. Carnivalarmbands are $15 and will allow thebearer to ride all carnival rides. That isthe only activity going on tonight.Carnival rides will operate from 7 p.m.until 11 p.m. on Friday and carnival armbandswill be $20. Saturday, tickets mustbe purchased in order to ride carnivalrides.The Little Mr. and Ms. Balloonfestwill be at noon on Saturday. Contestantsmust be registered by 10:30 a.m.Contestants may pre-register at RiverValley Cosmetology.America’s Best Frisbee dogs will performon Friday from 6 p.m. until 6:30p.m. and from 11 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. onSaturday.Due to the large size of this year’sevent, Balloonfest organizers are asking that attendees allowfor an hour in order to get into this year’s Balloonfest betweenthe commute from the parking lot and the lines at the gate.“This is a huge area of events, so be prepared to walk allover the grounds to see all the attractions.” says Karen Wages,Poteau Chamber of Commerce CEO.Parking will be allowed at the PARC parking lot, CarlAlbert State College, and the Poteau Industrial Park. Shuttleswill run from CASC and the Industrial Park and a courtesyvan will ferry disabled guests to and from the PARC parkinglot.For more information, contact the Poteau Chamber ofCommerce at (918) 647-9178.