A popular local festival has found a new home.
The 2019 Nebraska Balloon & Wine Festival will be taking over Ta-Ha-Zouka Park, located just east of downtown Elkhorn, on Friday and Saturday.
While the 13th annual festival is centered around hot air balloons and wine, there also will be a variety of foods, live entertainment, crafts and an area for kids.
Festival hours are 5-11 p.m. Friday and 3-11 p.m. Saturday. Free parking will be offered at Elkhorn High School. Shuttles will take guests to and from the festival.
Several colorful hot air balloons are scheduled to launch at 7 p.m. each evening (weather permitting). The pilots will then return to the park with their balloons for a hot air balloon glow at 9 p.m. – also weather permitting.
“The hot air balloons attract a lot of attention and are unique to this celebration,” Mike Mancuso, event producer, said. “An estimated six million national spectators attend hundreds of balloon events across the country.”
The Nebraska Wine Showcase will include experts and several wines. The wineries scheduled to participate include: Cedar Hills Vineyard & Gardens, Ravenna; Feather River Vineyards, North Platte; Glacial Till Vineyards & Winery LLC, Bennet; James Arthur Vineyards, Raymond; Miletta Vista Winery, St. Paul; Niobrara Valley Vineyards, Nenzel; Nissen Wine, Hartington; Soaring Wings Vineyard, Springfield; Whiskey Run Creek Vineyard & Winery, Brownville; Little Swan Lake Winery, Esterville, Iowa; Prairie Berry Winery, Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Darkhouse Winery, Napa Valley, California; Gallo Family Vineyards, Sonoma, California; and Columbia Winery, Woodinville, Washington.
Wine tasting packages include festival admission, five tastes of wine and a souvenir wine glass (while supplies last). Craft beer tastings can be substituted for the wine tastings. Advance tickets are $15 and may be purchased online at www.showofficeonline.com. Tickets will be $19 at the gate.
General admission tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for children ages 6-12.
A variety of food will be offered at the festival, including Greek, Italian and barbecue.
The Food and Wine Experience will give guests an opportunity to taste a vast selection of wine paired with hors d’oeuvres and food pairings at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. each evening. This year’s VIP sessions will be Carrabba’s on Friday and 801 Grill on Saturday.
“Whether you are a wine connoisseur, wine lover or simply interested in trying something new, the Food and Wine Experience will offer a special interaction of chefs with wine tastings,” Mancuso said. “It represents the culinary aspect of enjoying great wine and a fun way to discover life’s simplest indulgences.”
Arts and crafts will be available for sale in the Marketplace Village. A KidZone Area will include bungy jumping, pony rides, face painting, inflatable obstacle course and bull ride activities.
Live Wire will be the musical performer on Friday night. Front Ro and High Heel will play on Saturday night.
The festival offers limited seating, so guests are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs. No coolers or outside foods are allowed. Dogs and pets also are not allowed. Service dogs are an exception to the rule.