- Associated Press - Friday, October 17, 2014

STATESVILLE, N.C. (AP) - The 41st Carolina BalloonFest is getting underway in Statesville this weekend.

About 30,000 people are expected to attend the festival that runs from Friday through Sunday at the Statesville Regional Airport.

Marketing coordinator Janet Harriman told local media the weather is expected to be perfect, so higher attendance is possible.

More than 50 hot air balloons and four special shaped balloons will be taking off. The special shapes this year include a rocket man, an owl and pussycat, a scarecrow and a pink pig balloon called “Ham-let.”

The balloons launch after dawn and near dusk when the atmosphere is most stable. Tethered balloon rides of up to nearly 100 feet are available for purchase throughout the day.

There are two entertainment stages and a wine and beer tasting area.

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