By Melody Vallieu
TROY — The fall season is just around the corner, and will mark the return of a new festival in the county.
The Miami County Agricultural Society and the Troy Foundation will host the second annual Miami County Harvest Moon and Balloon Fest on Oct. 3-5 at the Miami County Fairgrounds.
The event will feature 10 colorful hot air balloons, as well as activities commemorating everything autumn.
Despite rainy weather conditions during the 2013 inaugural event, committee member Diana Thompson said feedback was positive. She said based on that feedback, the committee, made up of Jill Wright, Mike Jess, Scott Black and other from the fair board, decided to bring the festival back.
“Folks loved this event. Lots of things for kids to see and do. And adults enjoyed the wine tasting. Friday evening before the rains came, the hot air balloons were the major draw,” Thompson said. “It seemed to have so much potential and we were encouraged by everyone to bring it back.”
Free children’s activities — event more than last year — will begin at 4 p.m. Oct. 3 and will include a rock climbing wall, zip lines, a mini-golf course and free children’s rides. Adding to this line-up on Saturday and Sunday will be an obstacle course.
On. Oct. 4, children will be able to enjoy horse-drawn wagon rides out to a makeshift pumpkin patch where they can select their very own free pumpkin to decorate. Children also may sign up and participate in the kiddie tractor pull.
New this year, COSI’s Science Spot traveling exhibition will offer colorful hands-on kiosks with activities suitable for both adults and children.
“COSI remains one of Ohio’s top attractions for families and I believe it will be a big draw,” Thompson said. “They will be bringing 10 different science kiosks, each with a different learning experience.”
On Oct. 5, WACO Air Museum representatives will be out to help children build their very own kite - then watch them soar. Also on Sunday afternoon, children will be able to visit with animals and representatives from the Columbus Zoo to learn about the animals that travel with Jack Hanna.
“We wanted to provide a fairly free environment to kids 12 and under and have included what was popular last year, as well as, adding COSI exhibits and an animal presentation by the Columbus Zoo,” Thompson said.
Adults will find plenty to do at this year’s festival as well, including a variety of foods, and on Saturday, the Miami Valley Kruzers and the Piqua Antique Car Club will hold a cruise-in.
Musical entertainment also will be offered throughout the weekend. The feature performance will be at 7 p.m. Saturday by The Floorwalkers — who performed in Troy during the Mumford & Sons Gentlemen of the Road tour last August.
A beer garden, along with wine tastings - with representatives from three area wineries — will be on tab throughout the weekend.
Of course, the featured entertainment during the entire weekend will be the hot air balloons that will be launching from the fairground infield and will glow Friday and Saturday evening. Tethered balloon rides will be available for $10 per person Friday and Saturday nights from 5:30-7:30 p.m., weather permitting.
Mike Jess, president of the Miami County Agricultural Society is looking positively toward the event.
“In spite of the rain conditions we experienced last year, we still had folks coming out to enjoy all we offered. We received nothing but extremely positive comments from our visitors who encouraged us to continue this outstanding festival,” Jess said. “So we’re planning for bigger and better.”
Admission to the festival will be $5 per person, while children age 12 and under will be admitted for free.
RV camping is available by contacting the fairground office at 335-7492.
“Weather permitting, we hope to offer a great family experience that features our beautiful hot air balloons, kids’ events and activities, free rides, great food, wine tastings all weekend for adults, and entertainment,” Thompson said.