A car show, a kids’ festival with train rides and a Ferris wheel, wine tasting and tethered balloon rides, those are just some of the many things happening this July at Ventura County’s fifth annual Citrus Balloon Classic, a non profit event to raise money for the Santa Paula Community Fund, which supports development projects that benefit local youth and families.
The Balloon Classic begins in the early morning, Friday, July 27, with balloon rides at 6:30 am, followed by the Kids Discovery Fest, which offers free parking and affordable entertainment for families, including build-a-balloon crafts, walk-in balloon displays, face painting, and a recycled art contest. Kids can also learn about citrus farming in the festival’s Agriculture Alley, with booths on beneficial insects and hydroponics, among other things.
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In the evening, adults can enjoy the Sunset Wine Dinner, craft vendors and carnival games as pilots prepare to launch their lighted balloons for the Evening Balloon Glow.
Saturday will be just as fun, with morning balloon rides and activities throughout the day. The Fillmore & Western Train will offer free train shuttles between the balloon festival and historic downtown Santa Paula. Festival goers can also taste samples of limoncello vinaigrette, baked goods, salsas and gourmet olive oils at the Taste of Ventura County Pavilion or enjoy the afternoon car show.
Though it attracts pilots from all over the country, the Balloon Classic is often features local talent, including Simi Valley youth band Skick, Camarillo’s country-western Caught Red-Handed, Durango 95, the Shoemaker Brothers, the Heartbeats and more. After another liftoff of lighted balloons on Saturday evening, the celebration will close, as attendees dance to the music of Ventura’s Big Band.
If you are interested in attending the Balloon Classic, you can find more details and event times here. Before July 4, tickets are $8 per day for adults (14 and older) and $4 for youth. After July 4, adult tickets are $10 and youth tickets are $5. Children five and under are always free. Parking is free for the morning (until 3 pm on Friday and 10 am on Saturday) and in municipal lots, serviced by a free shuttle. If you would like to register a car for the car show or becoming a volunteer, visit the website for more information.