The 33rd annual Stoweflake Balloon Festival launches on July 5, 6, 7 at Stoweflake Resort & Spa on the Mountain Road in Stowe. The weekend will feature 20+ hot-air balloons, family activities, live entertainment, local food and a beer and wine garden. The festival began in 1986 as a fun way for balloonists to get together and share their talent and hobby, and has grown to become a pivotal summer attraction for locals and tourists, frequently named a top summer event by the state of Vermont. General admission is $10; entry is free for Stoweflake guests, and children under 12. Gates open at 4 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday nights. Balloon rides are available for fees — $10 for tethered rides (no reservations required), and $300 for full rides. All rides are weather permitting, and at the discretion of the pilot. Area residents should also be aware that hot-air balloons may land in various locations unannounced depending on weather and wind direction. Information: stoweflake.com/balloon, 802-253-7355.