Balloon and Wine Festival celebrates 30 years

Stephanie C. Ocano

Balloons soared all weekend long during the highly anticipated Temecula Valley Balloon and Wine Festival, which marked 30 years of being in operation. The event, proving to be the biggest yet, ran during the weekend of March 31 to June 2 at Lake Skinner Recreation Area on a budget of approximately $42,000.
Amongst the various acts that took place over the three-day weekend were bands such as Berlin, All American Rejects, Scott McCreery, and The Young Dubliners.
A car show and a craft/microbrew pairing by local brewhouses were two of the new activities that were added for this year’s event.
Shane Gibson photo
A freestyle motocross performance was also scheduled during the weekend to be held in honor of a fallen rider.
Metal Mulisha remembered Jeff “Ox” Kargola of San Clemente, 27, who died on March 6 during a performance in Baja Mexico. Kargola performed at previous Balloon and Wine Festival events.

Shane Gibson photo

Shane Gibson photo


Being home to some of the top and most innovative daredevil riders in the world, the City of Temecula and the Balloon and Wine Festival welcomed the idea of a freestyle motocross demo with open arms. Those performing included Metal Mulisha members Jimmy Fitzpatrick, Todd Potter, Wes Agee, Jeff Griffin, Destin Cantrell, and Jeremy “Twitch” Stenberg. The performance was filmed for an upcoming video.
Temecula residents and athletes Brian Deegan and Larry Linkogle founded Metal Mulisha in 1999 and the team has since grown into one of the biggest and most extreme freestyle motocross teams in the world.
Thousands of area residents, out-of-town visitors, families, and friends turned out for the annual event under bright and sunny skies. One can only begin to imagine what is to be planned for next year’s event.

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