First Balloon Festival draws big crowd

Prince Frederick, MD- The United Way of Calvert County is celebrating the success of its Inaugural Southern Maryland Balloon Festival. The festival was hosted Saturday, Aug. 26 at Spider Hall Farm in Prince Frederick.

The festival had a huge turnout, with 5,000 tickets being sold, which forced the event to sell out. The festival was designed as a family-friendly fundraiser and included a petting zoo, touch-a-truck, moon bounces, rock climbing wall, face painting and a large inflated balloon where families could walk around inside.

Several food vendors were on hand, as well as a wine and beer garden. All of the food and drink vendors featured local Maryland food and drinks.

In addition to the Kids Zone and refreshments, local bands entertained the crowds and festival-goers could take a tethered balloon ride. The evening ended with a balloon glow and fireworks.

Festival-goers had an option to park at four remote locations and were shuttled to Spider Hall Farm.

While some visitors were disappointed the balloons weren’t initially flying, Calvert United Way President and CEO Kelly Chambers, admitted that’s a risk you take with a balloon festival. “Balloons may not go up because they are very weather-dependent and that’s why we made sure there were plenty of other activities."

At the end of the day, the event was designed to support the United Way of Calvert County. “The money raised from this event will stay right here in Calvert County and help families in need,” Chambers noted. “We focus on education, financial stability and health care. We’re trying to break the cycle of poverty in our community.”

Chambers went on to explain the United Way also focuses efforts on substance abuse and mental health treatment.

“We’re grateful for our sponsors and all of the volunteers who helped with today’s event,” Chambers said. “We had 150 volunteers and we couldn’t have done it without them.”

Contact Joy Shrum at

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