LEWISTON — It wouldn’t be the Great Falls Balloon Festival without at least some uncertainty about the weather.

Preparing to celebrate the festival’s 25th anniversary, organizers are eyeing the forecast, which calls for a chance of rain Friday and Saturday.

“We can plan things all year long, but we can’t plan the weather,” said festival Treasurer Mell Hamlyn. “We’ll have to wait and see.”

Not that it matters that much. Most Balloon Festival events will go on rain or shine — the food tents, the live music, the demonstrations of everything from karate and dance to fencing and medieval encampment.

Not to mention flying dogs — on both Saturday and Sunday afternoons, “Pups in the Air” will perform, featuring a rotating cast of dogs said to make two-legged Frisbee enthusiasts look like amateurs.

And a carnival. And a juggling act. And craft and trade vendors set up along the walkways around Simard-Payne Memorial Park.


Although based at the Lewiston park, the festival sprawls into Auburn, with vendors and performances on both sides of the Androscoggin River.

A quarter-century after the festival got off the ground, organizers are expecting more than 100,000 people from all over the world who come in large part to see the great hot air balloons.

This year, 22 balloons will be featured, including familiar cartoon characters, Tom Cat and Terry the Mouse, along with a flying elephant named Pea-Nut.

Balloons typically launch at 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., although nasty weather will keep them grounded. As of Wednesday afternoon, the forecast called for a chance of rain early Friday and then again on Saturday, with a chance of an afternoon thunderstorm.

For a schedule of events and other information, visit greatfallsballoonfestival.org.

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