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Temecula Valley Balloon & Wine Festival

Every year on located at the recreation area near Lake Skinner in June during the first weekend, the Balloon & Wine Festival is put on. This area is located in southern California. This unique even features balloon glows during the evening, morning balloon launches, wine tastings from over 20 different wineries, wine and food pairing, wine competition, as well as concerts that include Classic Rock, Country, Rock, and Jazz starting on Friday and ending on Sunday. There is also a very large arts and craft fair, fine art paintings that are on exhibit inside of the wine gardens and a fair.

In 1983, Walt Darren who was a commercial airline pilot and balloonist along with Evelyn Harker who was an event organizer and fund raiser started the Rancho California Balloon & Wine Festival which would eventually become the Temecula Valley Balloon & Wine Festival. The original seed money was provided from sponsors in the local community providing what they could with many contributors making in-kind products and services and the Kaiser Development Company making the largest contribution.

During the 1980s there was only 6 wineries within the region, while there are now 30 wineries within the area. The very first Temecula Valley Balloon & Wine Festival was done in the spring of 1984 and was a really big success for a town that had less than 10,000 residents. In the first year alone, over 4000 people attended the festival and 35 balloons were launched from the Rancho California Plaza that is located off of Ynez Road, but now it is known as Tower Plaza.

Eventually the Temecula Valley Balloon & Wine Festival began to grow, and music was added into the event and it was moved to be at the Sports Park. Then in 1986, while the event was getting even bigger, it was then moved to Cherry Avenue and the very first poster contest was held. Then between 1987 and 1988, the Temecula Valley Balloon & Wine Festival was moved back to Sports Park. Eventually in 1989, it was moved to Lake Skinner which is its current location. The festival featured live entertainment in 1988 and hosted Little Anthony and the Imperials and the Coasters. Then in 1991, it would come to host the Beach Boys as the entertainment.

The most recent concerts are now being held on two separate stages. Over the years the live entertainment has included Five for Fighting, Peter Frampton, Sugar Ray, Gin Blossoms, James Otto, Chuck Wicks, Kenny Loggins and even Blake Shelton. Now the festival includes a Sunday freestyle motocross show.

Then during the 1991 year, the Festival Association was created whenever the Chamber of Commerce stopped putting the festival on. The mission statement of the nonprofit charitable organization is to be able to enhance the cultural, educational, charitable and economic development of this region.

However, there was a time when there were not any hot air balloons being launched but instead they introduced a balloon glow. However, the overall theme of wine and hot air balloons has also be the anchor for the event. Every year the festival will introduce new attractions.