Category: Festival

Reviewing the Kentucky Derby Festival Events – The Great Balloon Glow

I'll never forget the first time I saw a hot-air balloon. I was six or seven. I was playing outside of our house and heard the WOOOSH, WOOOSH, WOOOSH, of the burners overhead. It scared me, and then scared me even more when I saw the now familiar outline of a hot-air balloon coming over my head. The friendly pilot waived down at me and I waved back. Instantly I was hooked on this method of transportation. A year or two later, my parents took me to the Kentucky Derby Festival Great Balloon Race at the Fairgrounds, and I overcome with a love for hot-air balloons.

Sadly, it took me close to 30 years to attend the events in person. In that time, the Kentucky Derby Festival has added several balloon events, including the very popular Great Balloon Glow.

The Event

The Great Balloon Glow is held the night before the Great Balloon Race at the Kentucky Exposition Center. Shortly before the sun goes down, many of the balloons that will be competing in the Great Balloon Race roll out their envelopes and begin filling them with the hot air that will bring them up to the sky. As music pumps all around them, the balloons begin to rise. When the command is given, all of the balloons attempt to fill their balloons with several seconds of flame from their burners, causing the balloons to simultaneously glow.

This event was started in 1993 after bad weather forced the Great Balloon Race to be cancelled. This event gave balloonists the chance to show off their balloons before a large crowd.

Event Rating — 9

The Great Balloon Glow is one of the more popular events of the Kentucky Derby Festival, attracting an average of 65,000 people to the Kentucky Exposition Center. Children and parents alike wander around the lawn of the Kentucky Exposition Center staring in amazement at the many shapes, sizes, and colors of balloons that surround them. My wife, daughter and I truly enjoyed the event because it gives you access to all of the balloons and allows you to see them all inflated and it one place for an extended period of time. You could appreciate the difficulty that crews must have getting some of these balloons, such as the Energizer Bunny, inflated. Many of the balloons were also giving out free goodies for the kids. The only downside to the event is that the "glow" itself is somewhat disappointing. It's very difficult for all of the balloons to fire up at the same time, so the effect of all balloons lighting is brief and limited .

Ease of Attendance — 8

The Kentucky Exposition Center has lots of parking (for $5) on the grounds. The popularity of the event means that you may wind up parking far away from the balloons, however, so be prepared if you have young kids.

Family Friendliness — 9

The Great Balloon Glow is almost perfect for families. It's held on a weekend evening and it has something for everyone in the family. Everyone loves the beauty of the balloons, and your kids will enjoy getting the stickers, pins, and other items being given away. At last year's event, there were even rides indoors for the kiddies. The only downside to this event is the massive crowds and lack of lighting at the event make it very easy to lose anyone who gets separated from you. Additionally, you should be prepared for mud if it has recently rained.


Spring Festivals and Events in Greater Waverly-Shell Rock, Iowa

When it comes to springtime everyone can agree they are ready to get out and do something. The Waverly-Shell Rock, Iowa area has a wealth of opportunities for you and your family to enjoy some springtime weather with events, music, and parades. I am excited to provide details for a couple of different springtime events in the Waverly-Shell Rock, Iowa area.

Each year, Shell Rock, Iowa's Music Association puts on a Spring Swing Show. It is a combination of choir, big band, and skits that keep people coming back time and again. Aside from four years, the Swing Show has performed each spring since 1965. The theme for the 2020 Swing Show is 'Let the Good Times Roll'. Evening show times will be April 12, 13, 14, 19, 20, and 21 at 7:30pm with matinees available on Sunday April 15 at 1:15 and 3:30pm.

In its 47 years, the only place the Spring Swing Show has been held is at the Everson Auditorium in Shell Rock, Iowa Boyd Building. The Boyd Building is located at 303 South Cherry Street in Shell Rock, Iowa. Tickets cost $12 per person and proceeds go to support the local community of Shell Rock, Iowa. To order tickets, you can call (319) 885-6510 or visit the box office. The box office is located at the Shell Rock Public Library in Shell Rock, Iowa; the library is located at 104 N. Cherry Street. The box office hours are from 4:00pm- 5:30pm Sunday through Friday and from 9:00am to 11:00 am on Saturdays. For any additional information please visit

Waverly, Iowa is long known for hosting one of the mid-west's largest horse sales twice a year. The spring event for 2020 runs March 27- March 31. Four days of tack, equipment, and horse sales that draws people from all walks of life and from all across the country. On Tuesday and Wednesday this year the tack and equipment sales will be held. Thursday and Friday is when the actual horse sales will be occurring. Finally, on Saturday they have a mini sale. All sales take place at the Waverly Sales Barn (2212 5th Ave. NW Waverly, Iowa) and there is no admission for attending any of the events. There is a full catalog available that details all tack, equipment, and horses that will be for sale and what day they will be up for sale. Even if you are not interested in purchasing anything, just being a part of the horse sale is a wonderful springtime adventure. The animals are beautiful and you have an opportunity to meet new people. For more information you can visit the website at

Works Cited

Shell rock music association. (2020). Retrieved from

Waverly Midwest horse sale. (2020). Retrieved from


Summer 2020 Festivals and Events in Springfield

Looking for something to do this summer? Springfield is hot with festivals, concerts, plays, and more! Use this guide to find fun activities throughout Summer 2020.

Shakespeare in the Park
Do you love Shakespeare? If so, you'll enjoy Much Ado About Nothing under the big sky at Jordan Valley Park. It's a comedy, but probably not the best choice for children under 12. The performances are scheduled Wednesdays-Sundays at 8:15, from May 27-June 7. Admission is free, parking is available downtown in one of the open lots or parking garages. Jordan Valley Park is located at 735 E. Trafficway. For more information, contact them by phone at (417) 831-5233, by email at, or check out the website at

Wine tasting at OOVVDA Winery
Are you a wine connoisseur or just enjoy the taste of something new? Check out this free wine tasting event being held from May 29th to June 1st at the OOVVDA Winery. This is a small, family-owned winery with fresh, fruity wines. The Overboe family comes from a long line of Nordic winemakers. Wine-tasting begins at noon and continues until dusk. The winery is located on 5448 N. Berry Lane in Springfield. For more information, please contact them by phone at 417-833-4896, by email, or visit their website at

IDEA Expo, Innovation at Discovery Center
Are you interested in science or have an idea? Come share your interest with innovation experts from the Jorday Valley Innovation Center and JVIC partners at this free event in downtown Springfield on June 2 from 6 PM until 8 PM. This is a free family outing at the Discovery Center with something for everyone. The Discovery Center has activity centers and hands-on exhibits for all ages. Parking is free in the Discovery Center parking lot at 438 E. St. Louis Street. For more information, contact them by phone at (417) 862-9910, by email at, or visit their website at

Noon Concert Series at Founders Park
Enjoy your lunch with some of Springfield's best entertainers! This musical event is free, just bring your lunch and a chair or blanket for a family picnic with live entertainment. The event is scheduled at 12 PM on June 3rd at Founder's Park at 330 E. Water Street in Springfield. For more information, please call (417) 865-0450, or visit the website at Parking is free in the park parking lot.

Bartender Flair Competition Benefit
Not just a bartending competition, but a benefit for the Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ozarks organization. Bring your friends to Quincy Magoo's at 900 E. Battlefield Street on June 4th for an evening of flashy mixing and great drinks from 8 PM to 11 PM. Admission is $5 barstool or $25 for table of 5. Must be 21 to attend the event. For more information, please contact them by phone at (417) 773-0219 or visit the website at Parking is free and available at Quincy Magoo's.

28th Annual Kids Fishing Fun Day
Looking for a kid's event? This sporting event on June 6th is open to kid's ages 3 to 13 at Sportsman Park Center at 2500 E. Kearney St. Children must be accompanied by an adult. The event is free, but children must supply their own fishing gear and bait. There are two start times, one at 8:30 AM and another at 9:30 AM. For more information, contact them at (417) 864-1332 or visit the Springfield/Greene County parks website at for registration forms.

Summer Solstice Solar-bration
Don't miss this sunny event at the Discovery Center on Friday, June 19 (9 AM to 8 PM) and Saturday, June 20 (10 AM to 5 PM). This event focuses on how cultures throughout the world celebrate the sun with story-tellers, special activities, exhibits, and information about sun safety and solar power. Admission prices are $9 for adults, $8 for seniors, and $7 for children ages 3 through 15. The Discover Center is located at 438 E. St. Louis Street and parking is free. For more information, please visit their website at or call (417) 862-9910.

8th Annual SnowFest
Snow in summer? You betcha! Bring your kids to this free winter wonderland festival at Jordan Valley Park in downtown. SnowFest is scheduled June 20 from 4 PM until 9 PM. There will be live music, games, and giveaways. Jordan Valley Park is located at 635 E. Trafficway St. Parking is available nearby in one of the open lots or parking garages. For additional information, please call (417) 866-7444 or visit the website at

FOG The Greater Ozarks Butterfly Festival
Do you like butterflies? You won't want to miss this festival in honor of the new Butterfly House at Nathanael Greene Park/Close Memorial Park. The event is free and will take place on Saturday, July 11 (10 AM to 4 PM) and Sunday, July 12, 2020 (11 AM to 4 PM). There will be garden tours and activities. Kids will love interacting with the butterflies at this event. The park is located at 2400 S. Scenic and offers plenty of free parking. Visit their website at or call (417) 864-1049.

Ozark Empire Fair
This annual event is a must! The largest annual fair in the Ozarks, it offers everything from rides, concerts, motor sports, livestock shows and competitions, exhibits, food, and special performances. The fair is scheduled from July 31 through August 9 at the Ozark Empire Fairgrounds located at 3001 N. Grant Avenue.

Admission prices at the gate are $6 for adults, $2 for children ages 6 to 12, and children 5 and under are free. Parking is available at the fairgrounds for $4. Fair hours are from 11 AM to 11 PM, the midway opens at 1 PM. Concert headliners include The Beach Boys (July 31), Raven Symone (August 1), Little River Band (August 4), and Montgomery Gentry (August 6). Discounts on tickets are typically offered by local businesses in July. For more information call (417) 833-2660 or visit the website at

6th Annual Moonlight Bike Ride
Would you like to bike under the stars? If so, be sure to attend this starry cycling event in downtown Springfield. Cyclists will meet at the Discovery Center on August 22 for a tour of downtown, then return to the Center for food and music. Pre-registration is $15 per adult and $10 per children under 12. Registration on the night of the event is $20 for adults and $15 for children under 12. The event starts at 9:30 PM, but be sure to arrive a few minutes early to get your position. The Discovery Center is located at 438 E. St. Louis Street and parking is free. Please call (417) 862-9910 or visit the website at for registration forms.

Southwest Missouri Cattle Baron's Ball
See you at the ball? This special event will be held at the William H. Darr Agricultural Center, located at 2401 S. Kansas Expressway, on Saturday, August 22 from 6:30 PM to 1 AM on Sunday. Come dine, dance, and meet new friends at this special event being held this year in Springfield. There will be Vegas-style gaming, a mechanical bull, quick draw, and more. Tickets range from $300 (pair of tickets) to $10,000 (Oil Baron Table for 10). This event benefits the American Cancer Society. For more ticket information, please visit this website or the main website at You may also contact them by phone at (417) 447-1483.

Springfield Event Calendar


Fall Movie Festivals and Events in St. Louis, Missouri

Fall is almost here and as those warm, humid summer nights start to dwindle away – they will be replaced by the cool, brisk nights of autumn. People are now heading out to experience what St. Louis has to offer. There is something inherently energizing about the smell of autumn in St. Louis that makes everyone want to join in on the festivities. What better way to enjoy the fall than to visit a fall movie festival? Here are several events worthy of mentioning:


Stella Artois French Film Festival: Dates: September 17-19; Times: Various; Location: Washington University (Brown Hall on the Danforth Campus); Cost: $10 each, $8 for students with valid ID

Synopsis: Cinema St. Louis is presenting French films including Mr. Hulot's Holiday, Around a Small Mountain, Eldorado, Playtime, Evening Classes, The Doctor's Horrible Experiment, Just Anybody, Blue Beard, and French Cancan. Contact Cinema St. Louis at 314-289-4150 for more information on times.

Cinema on the Plaza: Dates: September 17 & 24; Times: "Movies Start at Dusk"; Location: Old Post Office Plaza (801 Locust Street); Cost: Free

Synopsis: Free movies (Father of the Bride, Jerry Maguire) are being shown in September in downtown St. Louis at the Old Post Office. Everyone is welcome and people are encouraged to bring chairs, blankets, picket baskets and anything else that will help make it a night to remember.

Tivoli Reel Late Midnight Movies: Dates: October 22-November 6; Time: 11:50p.m.; Location: Delmar Loop (6350 Delmar); Cost: $7-$12

Synopsis: The Tivoli typically features classic films (such as Pulp Fiction and 12 Monkeys) every Friday and Saturday in the evenings. In celebration of Halloween, the Tivoli is presenting The Rocky Horror Picture Show starting October 22. Guests will be given prop bags as an added bonus. Call 314-727-7271 for more information on specific show times not related to the Tivoli Reel Late Midnight Movies series.