FRANKTON – Things will be up in the air next weekend in Frankton. Hot air balloons will take to the skies, soaring above the myriad activities of the town’s 38th annual Frankton Heritage Days Festival and Hot Air Balloon Extravaganza. The fun kicks off next Friday, Sept. 20, and runs through Sept. 22.
“Each year we try to make it bigger and better,” said organizer Brenda Alexander. She noted that the festival draws about 8,000 to 10,000 people into Frankton. “I’m excited about the new things we have going on.”
One of those new things is a zip line that will be available all day Saturday. Also for the first time, bingo will be part of the fun both Friday and Saturday. The new attractions are part of a full slate of options.
There’s no shortage of musical entertainment. Country performer Corey Cox takes the stage Friday night. On Saturday afternoon, hear the jazz, country, rock mix of The Roadmaster, Gordon Brooks. Later on, tune in to the country rock of the Blue River Band, followed up with the piano rock of Ivory Skies.
Crafts, rides and concessions run all throughout the festival. Check out the antique tractor show or Sunday’s 17th annual car show. Step back in time when you enter a pre-1840’s encampment with re-enactors showing how life was lived on the frontier by explorers and pioneers.
Over at the Frankton Heritage House, check out quilts and wood working. Quilt show organizer Ruth Fox said the quilts run the gamut from hand-quilted to machine-pieced and machine-quilted, applique and embroidery. Fox’s husband, Larry, is organizing the wood working.
“Some of it is just unbelievable. Birds look like they’re real,” said Ruth.
The whole shebang gets underway Friday, Sept. 20, at 5:30 p.m. with opening ceremonies and the launch of the bike ramble – a 6- or 9-mile family-friendly bike ride. Plan to be back in time for the 6:30 p.m. pingpong drop from one of the hot air balloons. Kids 12 and under can collect the pingpong balls to score prizes. Also at 6:30, it’s Jay’s Magic Show, and the Prince and Princess contest. Bingo runs from 7 to 10 p.m.
On Saturday, it’s a day filled with hot air balloon activities, car show, tractor pull, muzzle loading rifle match, mud wrestling and more. There’s even a cross-cut saw challenge and a pedal tractor pull.
At 10 a.m., pick your spot for the big festival parade. This year, the parade honors Chuck Covell and the Means family. At 5 p.m., there’s a parade of a whole other kind, when pets get to strut their stuff. The pet parade is in partnership with the Madison County Humane Society.
In the evening, look for more bingo, another pingpong drop, Jay’s magic show, the spectacular balloon night glow and stage entertainment.
Fireworks top off the evening at dusk. Alexander said it will be the largest the festival has seen.
There’s still more fun on Sunday, with early morning hot air balloon action, followed in the afternoon with children’s games, corn hole tourney and a pie-eating contest. The festival wraps up with a “big surprise” at 3 p.m. Alexander says visitors will just have to show up to find out.
The theme for this year’s event is “When people come together for old-time sake.” Alexander noted, “We just really try to create a family-focused event. … We do try to celebrate the heritage of Frankton.”
For more information, and a complete schedule, visit the festival website at www.heritagedays.org.
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