Hot air balloons grace Iredell County skies at 46th annual Carolina BalloonFest

Shaped by fancy and splashed with color, more than 55 hot air balloons gathered in Statesville for the 46th annual Carolina BalloonFest. It is the second longest consecutive hot air balloon event in the United States.

“We are expecting 30-35,000 people if the weather holds. Fingers crossed,” said Carol Johnson, chairperson of the Carolina BalloonFest board.

And good weather is important to allow balloonists to soar and to raise money for area non-profits.

Johnson said the festival has raised more than $500,000 for local non-profits over the last five years.

“Balloons are magical and they make people happy,” Johnson said.