The Helen to the Atlantic Hot Air Balloon Race

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Going up and down in a hot air balloon is pretty simple.  You either add more hot air to go up or you let some out to descend.

Steering a hot air balloon is a bit more tricky because it’s pretty hard to float upwind.  You either go with the flow or you land.

Those minor details won’t deter the folks who take part in the 41st Annual Helen to the Atlantic Hot Air Balloon Race that’s drifting along until Saturday, June 7th in Helen, Georgia.

2The actual race started at 7 AM today (June 5th), but Helen will be hot air balloon heaven each morning and evening all week long.

Few things are as elegant as gently ascending in a colorful hot air balloon on a summer morning or evening, gone with the wind … headed for the beach.

Helen, Georgia, is an amazingly cool town any day of the year, but it’s especially scenic when flocks of hot air balloons fill the sky — with the weirdly Bavarian-themed town’s magnificent hills in the background — as they “race” toward the Atlantic Ocean powered by the breeze.

According to the rules, the winner of the race is the first balloon that crosses the finish line: I-95, anywhere between Maine and Miami.  The race’s website says,

“The shortest distance is 225 miles and the race usually takes two days.  It has been done in one day, while some races have taken as many as four days.  Six to ten balloons will be competing in the cross country race.

It is a race where both the pilot’s and crew’s skills are challenged.  A balloon can only go the same speed and direction as the wind.  The pilot must find the altitude which gives him/her the best speed as well as direction towards the finish line.”

1The Helen to the Atlantic Hot Air Balloon Race is the oldest balloon event in the South and the only long distance hot air balloon race in America.

You can take a ride in a “tethered” balloon that’s (probably) much more safe than the one seen in The Wizard of Oz.

Or glide over the area’s many waterfalls and wonderful hills for an hour or so … with a spot of champagne to quell any concerns you might have if you believe you can see dancing scarecrows and/or cowardly lions down below.

Flatlanders might prefer to park themselves on a bench by the rushing Chattahoochee River to let their spirits vicariously soar with the balloons … so their worries will float away with them.

Want more good news?  I could not find (after a very brief search) any prohibition in the rules to tying a few dozen balloons onto a lawn chair to enter the race.

Please Note:  Check with your doctor and insurance company before trying to fly your lawn chair.  Thank you.

Helen’s hot air balloon race is almost as exciting as NASCAR, but without all the noise, wrecks, motor homes, smells of gas and burning rubber and long waits at the rest rooms.

Fly away to Helen before the last balloon takes off.

Click Here for News About Lawn Chair Balloon Champion Larry Walters

Click Here for Schedules, Prices for “Tethered” Rides & More

Click Here for the Helen to the Atlantic Hot Air Balloon Race Facebook Page

Robert SutherlandRobert Sutherland is a freelance writer enjoying life in Gainesville, GA. Robert has two adult daughters, six grandchildren, one Kawasaki and a loving girlfriend. Robert’s e-mail address is: RJS@RobertSutherland.com.

Tunes from the Tombs at Historic Oakland Cemetery

Tunes from the Tombs - lr

Get down with beer, good beats and fabulous eats at an all-day music festival

Save the date for Tunes from the Tombs, Historic Oakland Cemetery’s annual all-day music festival, 1-8 p.m., June 14, featuring musicians performing in and amongst Oakland’s extraordinary monuments, mausoleums and renowned gardens. Two main stages will host amplified artists, while buskers will perform on distinct vignette stages throughout the cemetery. From rock to folk, Americana to jazz and classical to everything in between, a variety of tunes will entice everyone to boogie down. Soothe your stomach as well as your soul with good eats from Atlanta food trucks, which will be on-site serving a variety of tasty festival fare.  Keep spirits alive with beer, wine, and soft drinks, all of which will be offered for sale on-site. Festival attendees can also take a complimentary guided mini-tour of Oakland Cemetery, or have their fortunes read by Atlanta’s own, Esmere.

The official lineup includes:

Shawn Mullins

Mudcat

Wasted Potential Brass Band

Smooth Hound Smith

Blacktop Rockets

Ghost Riders Car Club

Villain Family

Julea and her Dear Johns

Secondhand Swagger

Tribute: A Celebration of the Allman Brothers Band

Sweet Auburn String Band

DJ Phiasco 2.0

SG4

Uncle Daddy and the Kissin’ Cousins Atlanta Sacred Harp Singers

Jake Reeves …and more!

Music at Tunes from the Tombs - lrNEW this year, sip suds at the Woodchuck Cider Garden where a DJ Phiasco will be on tap to take requests. Also new to Tunes from the Tombs this year is the RIP ticket package. No, not rest in peace-Rock In Peace! This package gets you entry into the festival, event poster and koozie, free parking, two drink tickets (21 & up), and green room access where RIP pass holders can rub shoulders with our artists and enjoy snacks, air conditioning and a private bathroom.

All proceeds benefit Historic Oakland Foundation. The work of the Foundation is supported by grants from charitable foundations, individuals, and events like Tunes from the Tombs.

Tickets are available for $10 online, $5 for kids (online or at gate) and $15 at gate. Buy your tickets online here: http://www.ticketalternative.com/Events/26053.aspx.

Parking will be available at the Grady Health Systems lot behind the MLK MARTA Station on Grant Street for $5. The Atlanta Bicycle Coalition will provide bike parking. Historic Oakland Foundation encourages festival-goers to take MARTA to the King Memorial Station. Bring your blanket or lawn chair and spend the day! No coolers or outside food allowed.

Talent booking by: Pete Knapp & Company. Ticketing by TicketAlternative.com.

Stay up-to-date with event details on Twitter and Facebook.

Malts & Vaults of Oakland: Where Beer Meets History

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What do a jousting match, exotic singing birds and the sun god Ra have in common? Why, everyone’s favorite malt beverage, beer, of course! Find out how the sudsy beverage connects these fascinating topics, and delve into Atlanta’s long and vivid history of brewing during Historic Oakland Cemetery’s new guided walking tour, Malts & Vaults of Oakland: Where Beer Meets History, debuting June 6 at 7 p.m. and June 7 at 5 p.m. The tour adds to Oakland’s existing repertoire of 14 specialty tours and the additional Sights, Symbols and Stories tour.

Authors Ron Smith and Mary O. Boyle of “Atlanta Beer: A Heady History of Brewing in the Hub in the South” will be onsite during the tours. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for students and seniors 65 and older, and free for Friends of Oakland. Buy tickets here. As with all of Oakland’s guided tours, a ticket grants $5 off any purchase at neighboring restaurant Six Feet Under. With this tour, guests will also be granted $1 off a purchase at the nearby My Friend’s Growler Shop.

2The Historic Oakland Foundation offers several types of tours to entertain, educate, and enlighten the community throughout the year.  The Sights, Symbols and Stories guided overview tour is offered every weekend and special topic tours are offered every weekend mid-March through mid-October. Additionally, guided tours are offered for private groups and schools. Several options are available for self-guided tours.

Reservations are required for Malts & Vaults of Oakland: Where Beer Meets History. Buy tickets here. Stay up-to-date with event details on Twitter and Facebook.

About Oakland│ Spanning 48 acres east of the city, Oakland Cemetery is an arboretum, an outdoor sculpture museum with monuments recognized by the Smithsonian, and an Audubon wildlife sanctuary. Oakland is the final resting place of 70,000 people from all walks of life, including author Margaret Mitchell, 27 Atlanta mayors including Maynard Jackson, 6 former governors, thousands of unmarked graves, and Civil War soldiers. Oakland Cemetery offers critical green space for recreation and serves as a cultural resource for lifelong learners who come to study history, art, architecture, archaeology, horticulture, photography, and more. Founded in 1850 when the City purchased 6 acres of farmland just outside of Atlanta, Oakland Cemetery was created as a Victorian garden cemetery. All lots were sold by the end of the 1800s, but gradually many of the descendants moved away or abandoned their family lots and the cemetery fell into disrepair. In 1976 a group of citizens concerned about the state of the cemetery launched the Historic Oakland Foundation to assist the City of Atlanta in its preservation of this special place. Also in 1976, the cemetery was named to the National Register of Historic Places and soon thereafter declared a Historic Landmark District by the Atlanta Urban Design Commission.  The Foundation partners with the City of Atlanta to preserve, restore, enhance, and share Oakland Cemetery with the public as an important cultural resource and an island of tranquility in the heart of the city.www.OaklandCemetery.com

11 Ways to Commemorate Memorial Day in Georgia

Roswell Remembers Ceremony

Roswell Remembers Ceremony

Remember our fallen heroes at these Memorial Day events:

May 24th: Augusta Choral Society Memorial Day Concert at Sacred Heart Cultural Center in Augusta

May 24th: Memorial Day Commemoration at Fort McAllister State Park in Richmond Hill

May 24th-25th: Memorial Day Mayhem at Little Ocmulgee State Park in Helena

May 24th-25th: Memorial Day Weekend Celebration at Florence Marina State Park in Omaha

May 24th-26th: Memorial Day Observance at Andersonville National Historic Site in Andersonville

May 25th-26th: Memorial Day Celebration at Reed Bingham State Park in Adel

May 26th: Madison’s Memorial Day Ceremony & Ride For America in downtown Madison

May 26th: Memorial Day Celebration in downtown Senoia

May 26th: Roswell Remembers Ceremony in downtown Roswell

May 26th: Miles of Hope Memorial Day Ride in Cedartown

May 26th: Memorial Day Ceremony in Woodstock

5 Unique Ways to Celebrate Mother’s Day

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Spend Mother’s Day on the river with Savannah Riverboat Cruises!

Show mom how much she means to you at one of these unique Mother’s Day events:

  1. For the sporty mom: Celebrate Mother Nature this Mother’s Day! Take a guided 4-mile hike of Cloudland Canyon State Park in Rising Fawn, Georgia. Water and trail snacks are provided. Ages 10 and up. Advanced reservations required. Learn more here.
  2. For the mom with small children: Join Barnsley Resort’s famous Fairy Godmother for an afternoon tea in honor of Mom. This event is perfect for mothers and children ages 12 and under. Learn more here.
  3. For the artsy mom: Create birdhouses out of gourds at Mistletoe State Park in Appling, Georgia. Learn more here.
  4. For the animal loving mom: Moms get in free at North Georgia Zoo & Farm on Mother’s Day! Take a tour and learn all about being a mom in the animal kingdom: how moms take care of their young, what it is like to be a surrogate mom to animals at the zoo, and meet some of those special animal “moms.” Learn more here.
  5. For the Coastal mom: Sit back, relax, and let Riverboat Cruises do all of the work. This two-hour cruise includes a buffet dinner, live entertainment and an unforgettable evening! Learn more here.