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Polo and Hot Air Balloons, a match made for Wellington

Stephen Brown

   The sport of kings is going sky high May 11-13, as the odd couple of hot air balloons and polo join together to support the Wounded Warrior Project and the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund at the Ford Trucks Polo & Balloon Festival.

   Though the thought of hot air balloons may not cross many minds when trained on the polo pitch, the two activities seemed to be destined for one another. The expansive fields designated for polo are the perfect staging area for the behemoth balloons, while the birds-eye view of Wellington’s surrounding farms is one not to be missed. On May 11, the festivities kick-off at 6 p.m., at Polo West, when the Ford Trucks polo team takes on the Palm Beach Polo & Hunt Club team for the Polo West Cup. Immediately following the seventh chukker (barring extra time), seven hot air balloons will open their burner blast valves and rise above the polo pitch for tether rides. Limited to only 350 tether rides at $5 a piece, all proceeds will go to the Wounded Warrior Project and the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund.

 Hot air balloon mass accession

   The balloon hopping continues on Saturday and Sunday, but jumps to an early morning affair. With 20 balloons in all, visitors can walk among the balloons as they slowly grow to life 7 a.m. Once the balloons are filled to the brim with warm, roiling air, 18 of the balloons will take to the sky for a mass accession, a true sight to be seen. Balloon rides are available for $200 a person; to book a ride, please call: 803-652-1181.

   On Saturday, after the balloon cruise over the Wellington sky, the Lamborghini Palm Beach Polo Classic roars to life at 5:30 p.m. Starting off the evening of polo and balloons, opera singer Lou Galterio will belt out the National Anthem accompanied by a Marine Corps Color guard, followed by a rousing match of polo with Lamborghini Palm Beach polo team taking on Palm Beach Polo & Hunt Club team. Once the match comes to an end, the balloons will return to the field for balloon glow. As the sun dips below the horizon, the hot air balloons will slowly rise, firing their burners, lighting the night sky for a new take on fire works.

 Hot air ballons glowing

   Admission to the Ford Truck Polo & Balloon Festival is free with a donation to the Wounded Warrior Project and the Injured Marines Semper Fi Fund. Festivities begin on Friday, May 11, with the Polo West Cup polo match at 6 p.m., followed by tether rides at 7:20 p.m.. Saturday, May 12, gates open at 6:30 a.m. for the balloons inflate and mass accession at 7 a.m. Visitor return at 6 p.m. for the Lamborghini Polo Classic, followed by tether balloon rides at 7:30 p.m. and the balloon glow at 8 p.m. Festivities wind down on Sunday, May 12, with gates opening at 6:30 a.m. for the balloon inflate, mass accession at 7 a.m. and the final tether rides at 7:30 to 9 a.m.

 

For more information or to book a hot air balloon ride, please call 803-652-1181, or visit poloamerica.com

 

Polo West

2470 Greenview Cove

Wellington, FL 33414

 

 

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