It's time for the 17th annual Big Country Balloon Fest this weekend Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Red Bud Park in Abilene. It' first flights will take off around first light every morning at approximately 6:30AM. The evening glows will take place every evening except Sunday right at dusk which is around 8PM. The Optimist Club Unlimited of Abilene hosts the balloon fest every year and a quick reminder that the balloon pilots and balloon fest is always subject to what mother nature dishes out.  This years balloon fest offers a wider variety of food, games and booths. There  is no charge to get in to see balloon fest, however if you want to play the games, ride the rides or eat bring cash. Balloon Fest is a non-profit fundraiser for the Optimist Club.

The Optimist Club Unlimited of Abilene raises money every year to award scholarships to deserving youth right here in the Big Country, last year 21 students were given scholarships to attend college at various universities. The Optimist club also extends help with financial support to Camp Quality, a special camp for kids who have gone through cancer. They have also started a unique program that provides Christmas for underprivileged children with a unique twist where we take the children shopping for their families. Teaching the children the gift of giving. Optimists then secretly buy for these children while they are shopping for their families, so they also receive in the gift of giving.

Your help is needed this weekend, to help raise funds and awareness of the many charitable programs that are available only because of the Optimist Club Unlimited of Abilene. Remember to wear comfortable shoes and keep a light jacket handy as the evenings are promising to be cool. The Big Country Balloon Fest is estimating to have at least 17 hot air balloons this year, with a special arrival of the Boy Scouts of America hot air balloons expected to arrive in Abilene for this years festival.