It's time for the 18th annual Big Country Balloon Fest, Friday September 28th, Saturday September 29th and Sunday September 30th, 2012 at Red Bud Park here in Abilene. Big Country Balloon Fest is a fundraiser for the nonprofit organization Optimist Club Unlimited of Abilene. This years balloon fest offers a wider variety of food, games, entertainment and Fun.

The first flights takes off every morning at first light which is approximately at 6:30 a.m. The evening glows will be every Friday and Saturday evenings at first dark, around 8 p.m. Balloon Fest is always at the mercy of mother-nature. Moderate to high winds and rain can derail the festival in no time. So listen to the radio station for updates and/or cancellations should they occur.  The best part about The Big Country b Balloon Fest is, that it's absolutely free. There's no charge to see the balloons up close, however if you want to play the games, ride the rides or eat bring some cash.

The Optimist Club Unlimited of Abilene raises money every year to award scholarships to deserving youth right here in Abilene and the Big Country, last year over 20 students were awarded scholarships to attend college. The Optimist club also extends financial support to Camp Quality, a special camp for kids who have gone through cancer. The Christmas program that takes needy children Christmas shopping for their families.

Your help is needed to raise awareness, funds or volunteer to be a chase crew member for a balloon team. If you want to help call 325-795-0995 or visit their website at BigCountryBalloonFest.com. Big Country Balloon Fest is estimating that at least 15 hot air balloons will participate this year, with more balloons signing up daily.

Check out this Hot Air Balloon video from years past.