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Go above and beyond for Father's Day

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There's the usual brunch shindig every Mother's Day, and come June for Dad- well, another tie or shaving kit. But why not go above and beyond this year? No, not a six-pack and marinated steaks for him to grill, but how about literally going above and beyond. In a hot air balloon, for instance?

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Every year, on Father's Day weekend, there is a magnificent Hot Air Balloon Festival held in Quechee, Vermont, just a 2 hour drive from Boston. The festival kicks off Friday afternoon, and continues all day Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $15 for adults, $5 for children, and free for the wee little ones (under 5), and available for purchase at the gate. There are even some discounts for dad on his big day. Valid for the entire weekend, admission includes parking, with school bus shuttles to and from your car to the festival. Just remember to keep that bracelet on.

Balloons ascend at 6:00 am and 6:00pm, weather and wind permitting. With the blow of a whistle, tens of balloons are inflated and one by one they take off. You can purchase a balloon ride online in advance or onsite, and ride over the Quechee Valley in a wicker basket. Enjoy views of the Connecticut River, Quechee Gorge, and the lush Green Mountains from the heavens. Sure, it's no Kansas; it's the land of Oz.

Balloon rides can be pricey. Instead, try a tethered balloon ride for $20, again, wind and weather permitting. Heights not your thing? There is plenty else to do. Pose as a Mafia crime family for an Old Time photo, enjoy a cooking class, or get a henna tattoo. But bring cash- many activities come with a price, despite the entrance fee. Kids will love the dinosaur bouncy house, train rides, and making crafts. There are comedy and juggling acts, frisbee catching dogs, and always live music. And there's plenty to eat and drink, from your typical concession snacks like fried dough, barbecue, and pickles on a stick, to local craft beers and woodfired pizza, and the best dumplings you've had up East. Or, pack your own picnic, lay on the lawn and enjoy the view as over 20 colorful balloons take flight and decorate the blue summer sky.

Next Father's Day treat him to something spectacular. Because, because, because, because, because. Because of the wonderful things he does.

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