Preakness Balloon Festival keeps tradition aloft

Posted at 9:33 AM, May 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-13 09:25:50-04

WEST FRIENDSHIP, Md. — The Preakness Stakes is about about a week away, and kicking off the excitement today is the Preakness Balloon Festival. The festival is a tradition which goes back more than 30 years.

Another part of the tradition many are fighting for is to keep the Preakness at Pimlico in Baltimore. The balloon pilots were fighting Mother Nature to take flight Friday morning. Rain or shine though, the festival is set to begin Friday evening to get horse racing fans excited for the race next weekend.

It's another way to celebrate the race, which has been a long-standing part of Maryland history. This year marks the 144th running of the Preakness Stakes.

The festival is at the Howard County Fairgrounds in West Friendship.

It takes place Friday, May 10 through Sunday, May 12th. Admission is free, although parking is $20 per car. And besides the balloons, families can enjoy food and fun; there's entertainment along with vendors selling arts and crafts.

The Preakness is the second jewel in the Triple Crown and considered Baltimore's Super Bowl.

The first jewel, the Kentucky Derby, was held last weekend. But for the first time in nearly 25 years, the winner of the Kentucky Derby will skip racing at the Preakness. Country House, the Derby winner, apparently has taken ill, so he's off the training list, which also means there's no race for a Triple Crown this year.

But that's not going to stop horse racing fans from having fun. Only the weather may keep the balloons from taking off.