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The SCENE Magazine

2010 RE/MAX Ballunar Liftoff Festival

Oct 08, 2010 09:49AM ● By The SCENE Magazine

October 29, 30 & 31  • Johnson Space Center

A full moon may not rise for Halloween weekend, but hot air balloons surely will as the 17th annual RE/MAX Ballunar Liftoff Festival gains lift Oct. 29, 30, and 31.

This year will include many exciting areas for people to enjoy.  Radio Disney is back, and will appear on Saturday afternoon.  Kids can dance to Disney’s Top 30 hits, ranging from Selena Gomez to the Jonas Brothers and Hannah Montana, and they can look forward to games, contests, and perhaps winning some prizes.

Children will also get a hands-on look at the Clear Lake communities’ antiques and newest fire trucks, police cars, ambulances, and rescue equipment during the “Salute to Public Safety” exposition on Saturday afternoon.

A new event that will be taking place this year is Mad Science of Houston.  This “edu-tainment” area will spark the imagination and wonder of all ages with things like a slime booth, superball factory, and awesome airplanes.

The fun doesn’t stop there, as Mad Science brings in a little Halloween fun with bubbling potions and a melting witches head! Speaking of a little Halloween fun, Saturday evening is the Halloween Balloon Bash.  Hot air balloon pilots will decorate their baskets in festive Halloween decor, while kids can go from basket to basket to trick-or-treat This has been an anticipated Clear Lake Area tradition, since the RE/MAX Ballunar Liftoff Festival began in 1993.

Balloon pilot Steve Lombardi and Richard Filip, CEO/Regional Owner of RE/MAX of Texas, began this tradition to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the first manned flight in America.  The purpose of the Festival is to encourage young people to study mathematics and science and to inform the public about the contributions aviation and space exploration make to our everyday lives.

This exciting event could not be a reality without the great efforts of hundreds that volunteer every year at this event. Festival volunteers receive free admission into the festival for themselves and anyone else in their car, free parking and non-alcoholic beverages while they are working.  Organizations and businesses volunteering in groups have a great opportunity to present themselves to the public by wearing shirts or hats that represent their organization.  There are still many opportunities open to volunteer, so quickly sign up to take advantage of helping make this beloved event a success! Go to to register or call the Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce at 281/488-7676 for more information.

Balloon Festival Gives Houston “Edutainment” on the Cheap

RE/MAX of Texas and the City of Nassau Bay have collaborated once again to bring Houston one of the most exciting and cost-effective outdoor events this year, combining family entertainment and education all in one. The RE/MAX Ballunar Liftoff Festival at NASA Johnson Space Center celebrating mankind’s fascination with flight kicks off this weekend in what is easily the Bayou city’s most affordable family outing. “No matter what economic conditions, parents still want their children to be entertained and educated at the same time, without it costing an arm and a leg,” says Festival Co-Founder Steve Lombardi. “The RE/MAX Ballunar Liftoff Festival scores on all three of these points.”

The festival’s mission to inspire interest in science and mathematics through aeronautic displays and attractions has been carried out for over 15 years. With many favorite attractions on the schedule, including hot air balloon competitions and evening glows, sky divers and astronauts, the festival is bringing new elements this year. On Saturday, a Public Safety Day, entertainment by Mad Science and the popular rhythm of Radio Disney will be featured. The RE/MAX Ballunar Liftoff Festival is produced by hundreds of Clear Lake-area volunteers. Family-friendly pricing of just $10 per carload includes Saturday’s NASA Open House from 9am to 5pm, visiting the original Saturn V rockets that took man to the moon, the space vehicle mock-up facility, and the opportunity to get an autograph from an actual NASA Astronaut.

RE/MAX Ballunar Liftoff Festival Schedule

October 29 (Friday):  6pm - 10pm 6:00 pm    Gates Open •  High Energy Music 7:00 pm    Live Entertainment on Stage 7:40 pm    American Flag & Anthem 7:45 pm    Welcoming Remarks 7:50 pm     Live Entertainment on Stage: MaxQ - the Astronaut Band 8:15 pm    Balloon Glow 9:00 pm    Live Entertainment on Stage: MaxQ - the Astronaut Band

October 30 (Saturday):  7am - 10pm 7:00 am    Gates Open • High Energy Music 7:15 am    Exhibition Skydiving Team 7:30 am    Shuttle Rendezvous Balloon Competition 9:00 am    ALL DAY - Air Sports Excellent Adventures 9:00 am - 5:00 pm    NASA Open House 10:00 am      Royal Academy of Fine Arts - The Preludes 10:00 am - 3:00 pm    "Salute to Public Safety" Exposition 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm       "Disney on Stage" 6:15 pm    Balloon Launch 6:30 pm    Live Entertainment on Stage 7:30 pm    City of Nassau Bay Balloon Glow 8:45 pm - 10:00 pm    Live Entertainment on Stage

October 31 (Sunday):  7am - 12pm 7:00 am    Gates Open • High Energy Music All Day 7:30 am    Balloon Competition 9:00 am - 12:00 pm    Live Entertainment on Stage 8:00 am - 12:00 pm    Skydivers & Air Sports Excellent Adventures 12:00 pm    Gates Close

Tips For Photographing the Ballunar Festival

Allen Matheson: “Early in the morning, watch for balloon teams driving near the main JSC entrance with their trailers in tow, and follow them out to the launch site. Also, unless you're going for a silhouette, attempt to shoot with the sun at your back.”

John Ennis: “Instead of waiting for the balloons to reach the festival grounds, follow the balloon teams out to the launch site and take pictures of the process leading up to the launch and the launch itself.”

Clifton Grim: “Understand the schedules and what is going to go on.  The Saturday morning launch gives you an opportunity to photograph set ups and launches from very close.  The Friday evening glow is the other great photo opportunity.

Cliff Meinhardt: “Don't just think about big balloons.  From a photographic point of view it can also be abstract colors, lines and shapes, it can be people, it can be action, and look at it from different angles, get up close, get down low, its a great place and a great subject to experiment with.”

See you at the event!

- Published in the October 2010 issue