Lakeland’s three-day ‘Up Up and Away’ hot air balloon festival kicks off on Friday

Helicopter rides, too.

The three-day Up Up and Away Florida Hot Air Balloon Festival is a great reason to make a trip to Lakeland. While the balloons aren’t ascending, attendees can take tethered balloon rides, watch morning balloon launches and evening glows or even hop on a helicopter ride. If you’d rather marvel at the hot air magic from the ground, you can also watch aerialist performers, let your kids loose in the kids zone, or chow down on eats from food vendors. Keep in mind, all balloon activities are weather permitting, so keep your weather app handy. Gates open at 2 p.m. on Friday, then 7 a.m. over the weekend.

Up Up and Away Florida Hot Air Balloon Festival. Fri.-Sun. Feb. 28-March 1. $15-$20. Sun ‘n Fun, 4175 Medulla Rd., Lakeland.

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