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Hot air balloons fill the skies at Middletown's MidUSA Ohio Challenge

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Forty vividly colored hot air balloons floating above and around you. Skydivers soaring and landing carrying a huge American flag. Fireworks exploding in the night sky. If any of these scenes gets your blood pumping then it is worth the 4 hour drive from Cleveland to attend the 12th annual MidUSA Ohio Challenge Hot Air Balloon Festival in Middletown, Ohio on Friday, July 11, Saturday, July 12 and Sunday, July 13. Cleveland hot air balloon enthusiasts will not be disappointed.

MidUSA Ohio Challenge Throughout this family-friendly three-day event (weather permitting), licensed balloon pilots will be taking part in balloon competitions. Balloon launches will take place in the morning and at sunset. Be sure not to miss the special shaped balloons (like The Angry Bird and Jewel the Hummingbird).

Team Fastrax will be giving skydiving demonstrations throughout the event including bringing in a 7800 square foot American flag and performing a pyrotechnic skydiving demonstration. Other entertainment will include live musical performances and a Native American ceremony.

Weather permitting, visitors will be able to take tethered hot air balloon rides. Cost is $10 for adults and $5 for children (12 and under). Tethered balloon rides will be offered from 7 p.m. - 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 7 a.m. - 9 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Other festival activities include a pancake breakfast (on Saturday from 8 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. Cost is by donation.), Murray Brothers carnival rides, a Classic Car show on Saturday, a laser light show (Friday evening) and fireworks on Saturday night. And don't miss visiting the Fluff & Puff Cold Air walk-thru inflated balloon.

On Friday, July 11 and Saturday, July 12 from 9:15 p.m.-10 p.m. (weather permitting) there will be a Balloon Glow where the hot air balloons will flicker and glow like fireflies.

The event will also pay tribute to active duty and veteran men and women of the armed services who have been injured in combat or training with a 5K Wounded Warrior Walk/ Run on Saturday morning and a VIP Wounded Warrior Recognition on Saturday evening.

Hours for the MidUSA Ohio Challenge are 4 p.m. - 10 p.m. on Friday, 7 a.m. -11 a.m. and 4 p.m. - 10:30 p.m. on Saturday and 7 a.m. - 11 a.m. on Sunday.

Admission is $10 per vehicle (includes parking, shuttle and event entry for all occupants). Walk-in admission for adults is $4. Children 12 and under are free.

For more information about the MidUSA Ohio Challenge call 513-705-1770 or get online at www.ohiochallenge.com.

The event will be held at the 100 acre Smith Park located at 500 Tytus Avenue in Middletown, Ohio. Middletown is 239 miles from Cleveland and it is approximately a 4 hour drive.

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