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There will be as many as 20 balloons taking flight June 24-26 at Cook Park; tethered rides are available for all ages.

COURTESY PHOTO: TIGARD FESTIVAL OF BALLOONS - The Tigard Festival of Balloons takes place at Cook Park in Tigard, June 24-26. It is the 38th year of the popular event.It has been a fun way for people from the Portland area to welcome summer over the years, and go up, up and away at the same time.

Now, the Tigard Festival of Balloons will welcome back people after two years away because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Up, up and away they'll go in hot air heaven for the 38th year, Friday-Sunday, June 24-26 at Cook Park in Tigard, a festival that also includes live music, a carnival, fancy cars, beer and food and crafts.

"We have missed gathering for Tigard's most celebrated event and can't wait to get back to this great community tradition," said Cindy Murphy, executive director.

There will be about 20 hot-air balloons participating in three morning launches, two "night glow" events and three mornings of tether rides for the public (pilot and weather permitting).

The festival also features live music on the main stage at Cook Park, featuring Hit Machine on Saturday night, and Funtastic Traveling Shows carnival, Rogue Ales Beer Garden and the Festival of Cars on Sunday, as well as food, crafts and vendor booths, Kids Action Zone featuring Play.Fit.Fun and more.

"It's more than balloons. The festival is a place for families and friends to gather, play and relax," promotions say.

Tigard Festival of Balloons relies on volunteers, and the community support raised $55,000 to help nonprofit causes in 2019.

The Portland Hot Air Balloon Classic moved to Cook Park in 2004 and became the Tigard Festival of Balloons.

A three-day pass is available online for $12; single-day tickets are not for sale. Kids under 6 years old get in for free. Parking is $10 at the festival parking lot at Tigard Swim Center, 8680 S.W. Durham Road. It's a brief walk to the festival grounds, and there'll also be a shuttle available (for $1). There are three admission spots, including the main one at the corner of the Tigard High School athletic field.

There are not balloon flights offered during the festival; there are tethered rides for all ages each morning.

As far as balloons flying, they need stable air and no rain to be launched, which is why mornings are the best time. The sun heats the Earth, which creates thermals making it unstable for balloons to fly later in the day.

You can look for the balloons over Tigard, Tualatin, Sherwood, Wilsonville, Aurora and Woodburn. Balloon crews try to avoid populated areas to the north.

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