Claremore Daily Progress

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July 14, 2012

Gatesway Hot Air Balloon Festival scheduled

CLAREMORE — In less than a month the sky will be filled with hot air balloons and the Cherokee Casino Will Rogers Downs grounds will be loaded with families enjoying all the festivities of the 17th Annual Gatesway Hot Air Balloon Festival.

The family event taking place Aug. 3-5 will feature more than 30 hot air balloons from across the nation, activities for all ages, live entertainment,  arts & crafts vendors and of course, plenty of great food.

“We're very excited to be presenting the 17th Annual Gatesway Balloon Festival,” said CEO Judi Myers, “Gatesway is committed to providing quality services to the individuals we serve and this annual event helps us fund many critical programs.”

This installment marks the fifth consecutive year for Will Rogers Downs to host the festival. The large grounds provide the space for numerous family activities, including pony and helicopter rides, children's activity area and arts and crafts vendors and exhibits. Festival grounds open at 4 p.m. on Friday and at 7 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

The festival kicks-off Friday with a 6:30 p.m. balloon flight, followed by a balloon glow at 8:30. Chris Monhollen will provide free entertainment for the adults inside the casino at the Dog Iron Saloon at 9 p.m.

Saturday is loaded with a day full of activities, including a 5K and 1 mile fun run, pancake breakfast, two competition flights, cake decorating contest, lawn mower races, tethered balloon rides and a second balloon glow. The day's festivities will conclude with Darrel Cole performing a free concert inside the Dog Iron.

The festival will conclude Sunday morning with a 7 a.m. balloon flight.

All proceeds from this event will be used to continue the programs and services offered to individuals with intellectual disabilities served by Gatesway.The Gatesway Foundation is quickly approaching its 50th year of providing opportunities for individuals with developmental disabilities throughout eastern and central Oklahoma.  Gatesway offers an array of residential and vocational programs that promote independence and provide opportunities for people with disabilities to improve their quality of life

Participants can register for the “Feet on Fire 5k” online by visiting

For a full schedule of events and to learn more about The Gatesway Foundation please visit

Cherokee Casino Will Rogers Downs is located three miles east of Claremore on Highway 20. For more information, visit or call (918) 283-8800.


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