Published: Apr 25, 2014 6:09 AM EDT
Updated: Apr 25, 2014 8:07 AM EDT

IMMOKALEE, Fla. – Seminole Casino Immokalee will bring its third annual Balloons Over Paradise Festival to the Seminole Tribe Youth Ranch, April 26-27, starting at 6 a.m. daily.

The two-day event will feature 60 hot air balloons and performances by Sister Hazel, Rachel/Hughes Band and JJ McCoy.

Additionally, there will be food, arts & crafts, tethered balloon rides, classic car show, dog agility performances, a polo exhibition and an equestrian drill team performance. Admission is free to the all-ages festival.

Festival-goers will be able to walk among the balloons as they inflate for a mass ascension into the sky. Specialty balloons include Flying Pig, Sugar Bear, Elvis, Purple People Eater and much more.

Headlining this year’s festival on Saturday, April 26, is Gainesville rock band Sister Hazel, known for such hits as “All For You,” “Change Your Mind,” “Happy” and “Life Got In The Way.” The band’s style has blended elements of folk rock, pop, classic rock 'n' roll and southern rock to create highly melodic tunes and prominent harmonies since its inception in 1993.

The band, comprised of Ken Block, Jett Beres, Andrew Copeland, Ryan Newell and Mark Trojanowski, released its 8th full-length album “Heartland Highway” in 2010 and continues to tour the U.S.

Also performing that day are South Florida’s Rachel/Hughes Band and JJ McCoy.

History will be made at this year’s festival. For the first time ever, Polo will be brought to Southwest Florida, with more than 30 top Polo ponies. Six international players will be featured in an exhibition match and will be available to meet and sign autographs for festival-goers after the game.

For those unfamiliar with the game, professional Polo player Kris Kampsen will showcase the basics of Polo to the crowd before the match.

The fun, vibrant hot air balloons will also engage in games throughout the weekend. In the hare and hound competition, the hare balloon takes off first. The other balloons, called the hounds, will launch a predetermined time after the hare. Soon afterward, the hare will land, laying out a large fabric X, about 50 feet in diameter, and radios the coordinates to the hounds. The hound balloons will then attempt to drop their markers as close to the center of the X as possible, with the closest marker achieving the highest score. Cash prizes will be awarded to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners.

The Third Annual Balloons Over Paradise Festival schedule is as follows:

Saturday, April 26

6 a.m. – Gates and food vendors open

7 a.m. to 9 a.m. – Balloons ascend

8 a.m. – Arts & crafts and kid’s experience

8:30 a.m. to noon – Tethered balloon rides $15 (weather permitting)

9 a.m. to 6 p.m. – Native Cultural Village opens, featuring alligator wrestling and demonstrations

9 a.m. to 1 p.m. – Classic car show

10 a.m. to 3 p.m. – Dog agility performances

10 a.m. – Balloon education team will host Q-and-A

11 a.m. – Special Equestrian Drill Team performance

11:30 a.m. – Polo exhibition

Noon – Polo match

1 p.m. – Stomping of the Divots (festival-goers are encouraged to join)

1:30 p.m. – Polo match3 p.m. – Rachel/Hughes Band

4:45 p.m. – JJ McCoy

6:30 p.m – Sister Hazel

7 p.m. to 8 p.m. – Balloon Glow

Sunday, April 27

At Seminole Tribe Youth Ranch

6 a.m. – Gates and food vendors open

7 a.m. to 9 a.m. – Balloons ascend

8 a.m. – Arts & crafts and kid’s experience begin

8:30 a.m. – Tethered balloon rides $15 (weather permitting)

9 a.m. – Native Cultural Village Opens, featuring alligator wrestling and demonstrationsNoon – Festival ends

Parking for the event is free at Seminole Casino Immokalee. Pets and coolers are not permitted.

For more information about the 3nd Annual Balloons Over Paradise Festival, visit