Temecula Valley Balloon & Wine Festival Offers Sumptuous Tasty Experiences, Concerts, and Something "Wicked"

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Balloons aren't the only treat for the senses at this event. Premium wine tasting, food pairing, and music - The Temecula Valley Balloon and Wine Festival offers so much to experience that it takes three days.

Witches will fly over the Temecula Valley Balloon & Wine Festival May 30, 31 and June 1. "Defy Gravity" the hot air balloon that displays the icons from the musical "WICKED" will make its one and only California festival flight this year at the 2014 Temecula Valley Balloon & Wine Festival.

The balloon flies for awareness of "WICKED" and has flown in 13 other Festivals. WICKED is the untold story of the witches of Oz. It will be joined by up to 40 other hot air balloons flying over the Festival grounds at Lake Skinner in the heart of Southern California Wine Country.

Balloons aren't the only treat for the senses at this event. The Temecula Valley Balloon and Wine Festival offers so much to experience that it takes three days. Savor premium wines. Enjoy exclusive food pairing demonstrations where executive chefs share their secrets. And the music?

The 2014 concert lineup includes: Justin Moore, Frankie Ballard and Tim Charron on Country Friday, May 30; 3 Doors Down, Gin Blossoms, Nelson and Access Royale Saturday, May 31; and Warrant on the Wine Stage Sunday, June 1, while Jimmy Fitzpatrick presents the Metal Mulisha Freestyle Motocross Demo at the Main Stage.

Country singer and ACM New Artist of the Year, Justin Moore headlines Friday night. His third album "Off the Beaten Path" was released in September 2013 and peaked at No.1. He has produced a string of hits including the sentimental favorite "If Heaven Wasn't So Far Away" (No.1 and gold record.) Named Billboard's "Top Country Artist of 2009," the Arkansas native's top 10 hits include "Small Town USA," "Backwoods," "Point At You," "Till My Last Day" and "Bait A Hook." Moore's self-titled 2009 debut album was recognized by the New York Times as one of the best albums for that year. His music has been featured on the ABC drama "Nashville," "Hannity & Colmes" and "NFL Rewind.”

Special guest Frankie Ballard has enjoyed 25 weeks on Billboard's Country Charts with his hit "Helluva Life." The lead song in his third album, "Sunshine & Whisky," is Ballard's first top 20 hit since he won Kenny Chesney's "Next Big Star" for Michigan in 2008. Ballard has opened for Chesney, and has produced two other albums, with songs that broke the top 40 Country Charts. "Helluva Life," however has had the best ride, peaking at No.9 on the charts. The song still sits at No.12.

Saturday Southern California Wine Country rocks with rock headliner 3 Doors Down. Known for their debut album and hit single "Kryptonite," 3 Doors Down has sold over 16 million albums worldwide since “Kryptonite” launched them to fame.

"Kryptonite" was just one of many hits that evolved from their debut album "The Better Life." The album sold six million copies and went platinum six times. 3 Doors Down furthered their success with the 2002 album "Away from the Sun," which spawned the singles "When I'm Gone", "The Road I'm On", "Here Without You," "Away from the Sun," "Dangerous Game," "Dead Love" and "Wasted Me." "Here Without You" and "Away from the Sun" crossed over to Adult Contemporary charts as well as rock and alternative rock charts.

Also appearing Saturday is the Gin Blossoms, the alternative rock band from Tempe, Arizona. The Gin Blossoms will make their third appearance to the Festival fueled with their hits “Hey Jealousy,” “Follow You Down,” “Found Out About You,” and “Till I Hear It From You.”

Saturday's lineup includes Nelson, the band comprised of Ricky Nelson's twin sons, Gunnar and Matthew Nelson. Considered an arena rock band, Nelson experienced huge success in the 90s with the debut album "After the Rain." The album featured the No.1 hit "Can't Live Without Your Love and Affection," and also reached multi-platinum status. The Nelsons landed in the "Guinness Book of World Records" as the only family in Entertainment to have No.1 hit records in three successive generations, with Grandparents Ozzie and Harriet, father Ricky and sons Gunnar and Matthew. The twins also perform under the name of "Ricky Nelson Remembered" but this will not be part of the Saturday show.

Sunday's musical headliner shifts to the Wine Stage, and includes rock band Warrant with Erik Turner. The hard rock band is known for their hit album "Cherry Pie," and singles, "Down Boys," "Sometimes She Cries," and "Heaven." “Heaven” reached No.1 in Rolling Stone and No.2 on the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks in a row.

For 31 years the Festival has combined the valley's assets into one weekend showcase of massive dawn hot air balloon launches, evening balloon glows (weather permitting), wine tasting from up to 20 wineries, and chef demonstrations that offer recipes while pairing with the valley's premium wines. Craft Brews are used in the recipes at the Food and Beer Pairing event on Saturday, where guests receive recipes with their pairing experience.

The Festival highlights another part of the area's culture - freestyle motocross. FMX champions like Jimmy Fitzpatrick, Brian Deegan and the Metal Mulisha team make the hillsides surrounding the Temecula Valley their training grounds.

Check http://www.tvbwf.com for scheduled times and activities or call (951) 676-6713. The Festival has an APP available at app stores for Droids, IOs and Blackberry. It's a free download. Hot air balloon flights, tethers and evening glows are weather permitting only.

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Melody Brunsting

Melody Brunsting
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