Changes for Freedom Weekend Aloft

January 18, 2013

Fun has a new name in 2013: ALOFT

After more than 30 years of entertaining the Upstate, Freedom Weekend Aloft has undergone a major makeover. Community leaders and event sponsors got the first preview of Aloft 2013 during a kick-off gala Thursday night at the Children's Museum of the Upstate. 

The new logo and simplified name are to reflect the festival's fresh and modern image moving forward in 2013 and beyond.

Going over and above a typical hot air balloon festival, speakers at the gala outlined plans for a zipline inside Simpsonville's Heritage Park event along with helicopter rides, model airplane races, stand-up paddle boarding, craft beer, wine tastings and upgraded entertainment.

"We're bringing the best of outdoor adventure and experiences together with great food and entertainment to help benefit our greater community," says media & marketing chair Margaret Burnquist.

The festival, presented by Greenville Hospital System over Memorial Weekend, is a 501c3 non-profit. This year, Aloft's charitable partner is the Center for Developmental Services which helps the parents of developmentally delayed children access all the tools and resources they need to face their challenges.

"As we promote Aloft 2013, we'll also be shining a bright spotlight on CDS and its mission," says Burnquist, "We're planning a series of events leading up to Aloft, and one of them involves bringing a hot air balloon that's wheelchair accessible to the children at CDS so they'll have a chance to experience flight for themselves."

The festival formerly known as Freedom Weekend Aloft has been ranked as one of the Southeast's best events by Southern Living Magazine and it has hit audience levels of more than 200,000 people but organizers are expecting a spike in growth for 2013. "With new leadership, a re-energized board and a more creative planning process, we're taking this re-engineered event to brand new heights," says Burnquist.

More information about Aloft can be found at and sponsorships are still available. Contact Executive Director Cindy Nelson about sponsorship opportunities by emailing or calling 864-288-0025.

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