Quirky Ohio: The All Ohio Balloon Fest

Welcome to #QuirkyOhio, our 2017 blog series highlighting Ohio's odd, unusual and downright wacky experiences, places and events. Follow along as we profile some of the quirkiest parts of the state.It’s not every day you look up at the sky and see a 100-foot Darth Vader floating in the evening breeze. In fact, it’s probably only once a year at the annual All Ohio Balloon Festival.Every year since 1975, this unique festival has been held at the Marysville Union County Airport. With a variety of eye-catching, one-of-a-kind hot air balloons, the festival captivates attendees of all ages as they lift off and float through the skies.As one of the longest-running hot air balloon festivals in the U.S., the event draws more than 30,000 visitors from across the country every year. This year’s 42nd annual festival will feature more than 30 balloons ranging from Darth Vader and Yoda to ice-cream cones and birthday cakes.In addition to larger-than-life, gravity-defying balloons, the festival also features skydiving, helicopter rides and seven live musical performances featuring Clint Black, Night Ranger and Bon Journey. The event’s menu includes local food vendors, concessions and food trucks.The festival is about more than captivating balloons, fun activities and delicious food. All proceeds from the event go directly to the United Way of Union County to resolve community issues concerning education, income and health through strategic local partnerships.If you’re interested in attending the event, general admission tickets are $10 and kids under 12 can attend for free. Visit the All Ohio Balloon Festival online to learn more.What are your favorite quirky destinations in our state? We’d love to hear your ideas in the comments below as we continue our tour of Quirky Ohio.