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Mt. Juliet Hot Air Balloon Fest draws hundreds

Angie Mayes • Oct 15, 2017 at 10:20 PM

Goodlettsville residents Jeff and Ashley Smith had more than 1,500 people attend their wedding Saturday night at Charlie Daniels Park.

 

The couple wed on a secured hot air balloon during a balloon glow at the inaugural Mt. Juliet Hot Air Balloon Fest.

Parking was scarce at the park as people from across Middle Tennessee came to Mt. Juliet to celebrate the event.

Food trucks and vendors, craft vendors, a children’s area and live music added to the excitement, according to Matt Lowney, organizer of the Mt. Juliet event. So far this year, organizers have presented three shows and have one more planned for Nov. 4 in Gallatin.

There were three balloons set up in the football field at the park, and hundreds made their spot on the east side of the field to experience the glow up close.

Balloon pilot Logan Bedford, who owns Middle Tennessee Hot Air Adventures, not only treated the public to the balloon glow, but he also offered a balloon walk-through exhibit, where people were welcomed into a balloon to get a glimpse of what the experience is like.

“We’re trying to bring balloon events back to Middle Tennessee,” Bedford said.

At the entrance to the walk-through point, Chris Empey, who works with Bedford, greeted people.

“This is for people to get up close to the balloon,” said Empey. “A lot of people have never seen a balloon before. It’s simply nylon with a silicone coating. The bottom part is made out of Nomex, which is fire-proof.”

Neil and Shelly Sharpe came to the park to experience the festival and the inside of a balloon.

“We came out here to see the balloons for the first time,” Neil Sharpe said. “It’s really cool to see everybody participating.”

He said he had never been in a balloon before, but it was definitely on his bucket list.

At dusk, the balloons lifted, and the pilots manned the fire to keep the balloons standing up. The Smiths were married in Bedford’s balloon, as the basket tossed a bit in the wind. Because of the weather, the balloon pilots did not offer tethered rides.

“We were going to get married [Sunday] at 2,000 feet in the air, but it’s windy tomorrow, so we can’t fly,” Jeff Smith said. “So, we came out to get married tonight.”

Why a balloon?

“It was the idea that excited us,” he said. 

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