Get Carried Away in Jamesville

In June, point your car towards Jamesville for fun for the whole family. Jamesville’s annual summer kickoff event, Balloonfest, features musical entertainment with national acts and local bands, plenty of food vendors, arts and crafts, amusement rides and, of course, plenty of balloons! Jamesville Beach will also be open at this time, so you can plan your day between the festival and the park.

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Event Hours

Friday 4 to 11 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sunday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Balloon Flight Times & Prices

The balloons make their initial launch Friday from 6 to 7:30 p.m. In, addition there is a Balloon Glow – simply, the balloons alight at night – at 9 p.m. For Saturday and Sunday, balloons go up at both 6 a.m. and 6 to 7:30 p.m.

Balloon rides are available on any of the flights throughout the weekend. Morning rides are $165 per person; evening rides are $190 per person. To reserve a ride, call 315-263-0385 or e-mail SYRballoonfest@gmail.com.

Entertainment/Music Hours

Friday 7 to 10 p.m.; Saturday 2 to 10 p.m.; Sunday 1:30 to 8:45 p.m.

34th Annual Jamesville Balloonfest starts Friday, June 28 and ends Sunday, June 30
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Balloon Watching Builds an Appetite

Locally, there are several alternative dining places if you are in the mood for something other than carnival food. Robbie T’s Pizza, located on 4625 North James St., is a great place for all. The owner, Robbie, is a very friendly guy and genuinely happy to see customers walk through the door. He greets every single customer that walks into his shop with the kind of smile most people reserve for long-time friends.

Further down the road is Ruston’s Diner. Located on 6293 Jamesville Toll Rd., it’s a great place for good food and lots of it. The meals at this classic, hometown diner are delicious, filling and affordable. The staff is easy going and very knowledgeable.

Also while in the area, check out Clarks Reservation State Park, a geologic wonder just west of Jamesville. The park’s features include rugged cliffs, quiet woodlands and meadows, a wetland and a meromictic glacial plunge basin lake. Hikers can choose from five trails, including the cliff trail, which has a ledge overlook 175 feet above the water.

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This festival offers so much visual beauty to spectators that it’s worth the drive to experience. Stare in awe as over two dozen balloons are set up, filled with hot air and finally sent off one by one into the big blue. Gaudy golds, ravishing reds, graceful greens and more decorate the landscape as they rise into the sky. And not just colors can be seen – but shapes, too. Years past have featured a witch, pig with wings, Dingbat – a high flying special shape that promotes education and staying in school – and more.

Plan to arrive early for the morning launches, around 5:30 a.m. or so, as the balloons launch at 6 a.m. It can be very chilly at this time of the morning, so layer up. Be sure to bring lawn chairs and/or blankets, and don’t forget the sunscreen if spending the entire day there.

The 34th Annual Jamesville Balloonfest will commence Friday, June 28 and end Sunday, June 30. It is located at Jamesville Beach Park, just off exit 15 on I-81. Admission is $10 for the day, and free to those 12 and under. For more information on the event, visit syracuseballoonfest.com or call 315-703-9620.


by Phillip Bonn