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Hot-air ballooning is a popular activity in Temecula year-round—but every spring, it becomes just a little more special, thanks to the Temecula Valley Balloon & Wine Festival.

This three-day festival, which began in 1983, attracts some 40,000 people every summer. It’s easy to see the appeal. Even one hot-air balloon is a spectacular sight; when 40 to 50 of them lift off from the ground and fill the sky with a rainbow of colors, it becomes a magical sight to see.

Balloons can fly only when the air is cool, which means multi-balloon sightings happen only in the early mornings. Can’t make the sunrise wake-up call? You can still experience the thrill of this activity by climbing into a tethered balloon and floating 75 feet above the valley landscape. And come each night for the Balloon Glow event, when multiple balloons are inflated and illuminated, glowing like lanterns against the dark sky.

Of course, there’s plenty to do throughout the day as well. Temecula’s award-winning wines and craft beers are on full display, and aficionados can participate in wine and beer tastings. Guests will be taken on a culinary journey with a brewmaster or winery representative as they discuss the nuances of each amber ale and robust red. For entertainment, every year sees a rotating cast of performers take to the festival stage, filling the California air with music. Past musical guests have included alt-rock's 3 Doors Down and country dup Big and Rich. A pass to the Cabana Club will place you right next to the main stage with an array of refreshing beverages to drink as you watch the performances. A fully catered meal is also included. 

Festivalgoers looking to pack the most into this three-day event can even camp onsite at Lake Skinner. Of course, all of Temecula’s varied activities are available as well: Stroll Old Town, visit wineries, go for a hike, or taste the locally grown delights at the Temecula Olive Oil Company.

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