Balloons, Tunes and BBQ Hosted by United Way announce plans

July 21, 2014

United Way of Southern Kentucky is pleased to announce the 24th annual U.S. Bank Balloons, Tunes and BBQ festival will take place September 4-7, 2014 at the Bowling Green / Warren County Regional Airport. The festival is designed for the enjoyment and affordability of the entire family. Title Sponsor U.S. Bank has teamed up with Presenting Sponsor Houchens Industries and Supporting Sponsors, J B Distributors, Fruit of the Loom, Miller’s Bottled Gas, Hampton Inn, RC Cola, WBKO, WGGC 95.1, Commonwealth Broadcasting, D&M Electric, Whayne Supply, and the Bowling Green/ Warren County Regional Airport - to make this event possible. United Way of Southern Kentucky is the proud host of this community event. Net proceeds from the festival will be used by United Way to impact critical issues affecting those in need across the BRADD region including poverty, youth development, personal abuse, substance abuse, disabilities, senior services, and literacy.

This year’s event promises excitement and enjoyment for all ages! Attractions will include a carnival, several children’s activities including an inflatable fair friendly for children of all ages, BBQ to tempt the taste buds with seating available for patrons, and several displays. The carnival, inflatables, display vendors, and food vendors will be present throughout the weekend. You don’t want to miss the action! The festival’s live entertainment will once again be top notch!

The festival kicks off when gates open at 5 p.m. on Thursday in recognition of “Kid’s Night”. The Carnival Midway and Inflatable Fair will be up and running in addition to numerous kids activities. “Kid’s Night” sponsor WBKO will be hosting and details of the evening may also be tracked at

Friday gates open at 3 p.m. “Family Night” will feature Commonwealth Broadcasting hosting the 8th Bowling Green Idol competition. After a two year hiatus, the competition is back by popular demand. Contestants will be chosen through video tape submissions to the judging panel. Commonwealth Broadcasting stations Sam 100.7, WOVO 106.3, Howdy 103.7, and The Point 105.3 will be soliciting audition tapes beginning in mid-August. Additional details will be forthcoming from each of these Commonwealth Broadcasting stations. Local solo artists will audition and be narrowed to a field of ten semi-finalists by a panel of knowledgeable, independent judges. These ten individuals will each perform center stage on Friday night before being reduced to a group of five finalists that will perform a second time in hopes of being crowned 2014 Bowling Green Idol Champion. Live music at the midway point of Bowling Green Idol (when the judges are making their decision to reduce the competitive field to five finalists) will be provided by Loving Mary ( Loving Mary is an Americana, country & rock, band based in Nashville, Tennessee, whose music goes beyond the surface. The Bowling Green Idol competition will provide a rocking good time the entire evening and begins at 5:30 p.m. Check our website ( for periodic updates and details of audition tape submissions.

Gates open on Saturday at noon and festival-goers will be able to get up close immediately with the event’s BBQ Cook-off competition. Judges results of the first category will be released at 12:30 p.m. and judging of the final category is slated to wrap up around 3:30 p.m. BBQ cookers will be competing for prize money and bragging rights in the categories of chicken, ribs, and pulled pork.

Stage entertainment Saturday evening will feature a grand lineup for country music fans. WGGC 95.1 ( will sponsor an awesome ‘95 Live’ summer finale concert featuring three full bands – all Nashville recording artists. This year’s concert will be headlined by country music, ACM and Grammy nominated artist, David Nail ( Nail is one of the hottest artists in Nashville and is riding an exciting wave thanks to his recent #1 country smash and certified Platinum hit, Whatever She’s Got - the debut single off his most recent album I’m A Fire which was just released in March by his label MCA Nashville. The second single released from I’m A Fire, Kiss You Tonight, is currently climbing the country media based chart. Prior hits include chart topper Let It Rain, Red Light, and Turning Home, among others. Recording artists The Farm ( will kick things off center stage at 6:00 p.m. on concert night. The Farm (charting singles include Home Sweet Home and Be Grateful) has performed at the festival on two other occasions, once as a prior headliner, and has been so impressed with the support of the community for this United Way fund-raiser that they have agreed to open this year’s concert and serve as Stage Hosts for the evening. Following The Farm, fans are in for a special treat as ACA, ACM, and CMT nominee Jana Kramer takes the stage for an exciting performance. In fact, Jana was the recipient of the ACM Award for 2013 Top New Female Artist — in large part due to her smash hit, certified Gold single Why Ya Wanna. Other hits include Whiskey, I Hope It Rains, and What I Love About Your Love, among others. Her current single, Love, is climbing the country media based chart ( Fun fact: You may also recognize Jana as the stealthy woman dressed in black leather currently featured in a Nationwide Insurance television ad campaign. In fact, as an actress, Jana has a long list of TV, film and video performances to her credit.

Finally, the staple of the event since its inception in 1990, Hot Air Balloons, will return once again. Hot air balloonists from all over the country will converge on Bowling Green to compete for more than $10,000 in prize money. Hot air balloon competitive events will be held throughout the weekend, testing the skill set of some of the sport’s best pilots. Hot air balloons will be on display Friday evening at dusk for the ever popular Balloon Glow sponsored by Fruit of the Loom. The balloon field will offer Tether rides as part of the admission, weather and wind permitting, on Friday evening. Hot Air Balloon Rides (un-tethered) will be available again this year for a fee, weather and wind permitting. You can book your ride now by signing up at the Balloons, Tunes & BBQ official website ( Competitive events kick off with a Saturday morning fly-in, crowd favorite Hare and Hound competitive lift off will be Saturday afternoon, and the final fly-in event will be held on Sunday morning with the announcement of the Grand Prize Winner shortly thereafter. The skies of Bowling Green will be full of color as dozens of hot air balloons fill the air!!

Single day passes are available each day Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. The pass includes free parking, free unlimited carnival rides, free unlimited access to the bounce houses and inflatable attractions, free evening stage performances, and free tethered balloons rides on Friday only (availability, weather and FAA timeline permitting). Food, carnival cash games, and souvenirs are not included with the single day pass.

Single day pass prices are:

• Thursday: $5 per person (tickets sold at on site admission gate only)

• Friday: $10 per person (tickets sold at on site admission gate only)

• Saturday: $20 per person at the gate OR $15 per person if purchased in advance on-line at

VIP passes are available for Friday night through advance purchase only. Friday night VIP passes include VIP reserved parking to avoid general public entry lines, express admission, and reserved performance seating. Friday night VIP passes can be purchased by calling 270-843-3205 for $25 each. Only 50 VIP passes are available for Friday and will sell quickly.

A limited number of Corporate Tent Sponsorships are available for $1,500 and include a 20 X 20 tent for Thursday night – Saturday night, company banner(s) will be displayed during the entire event at the tent, 20 Admission Tickets for the entire Festival, 2 VIP Parking Passes for the entire Festival, and 2 VIP Tethered Ride Tickets for Friday night (FAA and weather permitting). Sponsorships can be purchased by calling the United Way office at 270-843-3205.

In making the announcement, Steve Wallace, United Way of Southern Kentucky President and CEO, noted, “Major events like this do not happen without significant support from community partners and, clearly, our list of sponsors this year bears that out. I could not be more proud of the commitment of Craig Browning and US Bank, our Title Sponsor, and of Alan Larsen and Houchens Industries, our Presenting Sponsor, to the success of this event and to the vital work that United Way does every day across Southern Kentucky. A big thank you goes as well to Rob Barnett and the outstanding team at the Bowling Green/Warren County Regional Airport. Without the partnership of Rob and his staff and board, none of this would be remotely possible. As for the event, this year is going to be spectacular. With Thursday’s Kids Night, Friday night’s Bowling Green Idol, and the Saturday night concert featuring The Farm, Jana Kramer, and David Nail, along with the the great-tasting BBQ Cook-off Competition, Bowling Green will be alive with the sights, sounds, and aromas that can only be – Balloons, Tunes and BBQ!”

In commenting on U.S. Bank’s involvement, Craig Browning, USB Regional President and Festival Co-Coordinator, noted, “We are very pleased to again be the Title Sponsor of Bowling Green’s premiere outdoor festival. We’re extremely excited about the quality of entertainment scheduled for the event. Throw in hot air balloons and a carnival, and patrons will quickly realize this event has significant entertainment value — all right here in south central Kentucky! We strive to make the event family affordable while at the same time raising much needed funds for those in need within our community. United Way of Southern Kentucky fulfills a vital role in our region and we’re pleased that they have once again chosen to host this festival. The proceeds of this event will serve to improve the lives of thousands over the course of the next year. Finally, we couldn’t be more appreciative of not only our individual volunteers but also to all of our sponsors for their support. It’s a special thing to see this many members of our corporate community come together for a common cause.”

United Way of Southern Kentucky would like to recognize the hundreds of volunteers and the tremendous support of sponsors that help to make this event possible. The event is produced with promotional support from the Bowling Green Area Convention Visitors Bureau - Vicki Fitch, Executive Director. Special thanks to Dan McIvor, Brandon McIvor, and the entire team at D&M for all the work they do! Finally, United Way of Southern Kentucky wishes to thank and recognize Rob Barnett and the BG/Warren County Regional Airport staff and Board of Directors for their continuing support. It is the combined efforts of all of these individuals that will result in a wonderful benefit back to the community through United Way. Thousands of lives will be changed as the result of the generosity of these volunteers, sponsors and those of who come out and support this wonderful community event.

Anyone interested in volunteering or simply seeking more information about the event may call the U.S. Bank Balloons, Tunes and BBQ Hotline at 270.745.7532. Volunteers may leave a message and expect a return call from one of the event coordinators. For additional information you may visit online at,, or contact the United Way office at 270.843.3205. Coordinators will continue to update the website and our Facebook page as additional information becomes available.