Temecula Valley Balloon & Wine Festival lifts off


As summer slowly creeps in, so does our longing to explore San Diego’s great backyard.

In the rolling vineyards of Temecula, the 33rd annual Temecula Valley Balloon & Wine Festival returns for three days of hot air balloon flights, wine and beer tasting, arts and crafts for the little ones, ample food and live entertainment. Watch hot air balloons lift off at sunrise above Lake Skinner and then sip up their wines from some of Temecula Valley’s most popular vineyards this Friday through Sunday.

Up, up and away: Guests to this fest can catch a sunrise balloon launch or take a free morning tethered balloon ride. Beginning at 6:30 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday mornings, attendees can marvel at the sight of 40-50 hot air balloons floating over the Temecula Valley Wine Country. Sure, it’s an early morning, but the vibrant colors of the balloons floating with the rising sun are awe-inspiring enough to get you out of bed. Starting around 7:30 a.m., several hot air balloons will be set up and tethered in the Wine Stage area for free tethered balloon rides, ascending 50-75 feet above the Festival grounds. Balloon tethers will operate for approximately two hours on Saturday and Sunday mornings, free to festival guests.

In the event that you’re less of a morning person and more of a night owl, an evening balloon glow will take place around 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday of the fest. The balloons will inflate once again and ignite their burners for a magical dance in the sky.

Music al fresco: On the Wine Stage and Main Stage, catch live performances from a diverse lineup of music including country star Phil Vassar opening the festival on Friday night, Jimmy Eat World and Neon Trees on Saturday and Rodney Atkins and Kristian Bush closing out the fun on Sunday.

Drinking in the daylight: Attendees can participate in Wine & Food Pairing or Beer & Food Pairing experiences, presented by local chefs, wineries and breweries. The wine pairing, taking place on Saturday at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. or Sunday at noon, features each course served from a different chef with a complimentary wine from the area. The beer pairing follows a similar concept and is available on Saturday at 11 a.m. or 3 p.m. Both experiences cost $75.

Tickets: General admission includes seating to all concerts. Online: $23 Friday, $33 Saturday, $23 Sunday or a weekend combo pass for $60. At the gate: $30 Friday, $40 Saturday and $30 Sunday. Wine and beer tasting is an additional charge of $2 per beverage ticket and can be purchased at the festival or online.

More details: Festival hours are Friday 3-10 p.m., Saturday 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. For tickets and more information, visit

Lake Skinner Recreation Area, 37701 Warren Road, Winchester

Source: DiscoverSD