EAST MOLINE, Illinois (KWQC) – Hot air balloons are scheduled to once again light up the sky with bright colors at the Rock Island County Fairgrounds in East Moline, Illinois, this weekend, Friday, September 23 and Saturday, September 24, 2016.
This year will be the event’s eighth year, but this the balloon festival means more than having fun and flying in the visiting balloons.
Each year, the event focuses on raising funds for the River Bend Food Pantry. This is a local organization that helps provide food to people and local kids in the area in need of food. The pantry even has programs like the Backpack Program, which provides food to kids to take home over the weekend.
This year’s event will feature 18 balloons, along with vendors, a bounce house, and even face painting. Also, two balloons will be providing tethered rides to visitors.
Admission is free along with parking, but organizers are asking people to bring either a monetary or non-perishable food donation to the event.
“It all impacts all in the Quad Cities area,” said Balloonmeister Darrell Day. “None of the people in the organization here are paid, it is all volunteer. We don’t have administrative fees or anything like that, just what we pay are things that we have to pay out of pocket just to actually run the event .”
Organizers are expecting thousands of visitors and hundreds of volunteers to come help with the event. If you want to help, head out to the fairgrounds anytime during the weekend and stop-by the volunteers tent.
The event starts at 4 p.m. on Friday, but there will be activities throughout the weekend. For a full schedule, visit the Quad Cities Balloon Festival Website.