Temecula Valley's Big Balloon Bash

The wine region's major hullaballoo is ready for lift-off.

LONGTIME PAIRING: There were vineyards long before the invention of the hot air balloon -- hope we're not spoiling any time-travel-y type story ideas you have in your writing folder -- but once balloons lifted off the twosome went down in history as something special. Why? Well, there's something that downright enchanted about floating high above wine country while spying all of those neat little squares and rectangles below, each one a different vineyard. Wine regions are pretty from the ground, but above? Please. They're absolute paintings, and anyone who says we're going to far with that description needs to search out some images online and rethink their stance. Plus, once your balloon lands? A glass of wine, or bubbly, is frequently enjoyed. It's all win-win, and there are likely a few more wins we're not even considering. And when you consider the three-day party that's just ahead for Temecula Valley, you might as well throw in a few extra wins beyond balloons and wine (including wins signifying food, music, entertainment, art, and other good stuff).

HAPPY 30TH! The Temecula Valley Balloon & Wine Festival is set to catch air from Friday, May 31 through Sunday, June 2. One of the state's biggest balloon bashes is indeed marking three decades this year, meaning the tried-and-loved staples'll be out: an evening Balloon Glow, a mondo arts and crafts dealie, and two stages for music. Plus vino, one of the two stars of the show, a star that is no less colorful than the big balloons capturing all of the camera attention. We'd go for the food & wine pairing sessions, or the beer & food pairings, if that's your thing. They're ticketed separately, note, so investigate before making for Lake Skinner.

Oh, and your general tickets? They'll run $17/day to $25/day, at the gate, depending on whether you show on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday (Saturday's the big day, no surprise). But you can get 'em for less online. It's a pretty deal indeed, though not as pretty as seeing a vineyard from a hot air balloon.

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