Wines, Balloons, Tickets And Bands Lineup
The first time I went to the Temecula Wine & Balloon Festival, it wasn’t quite what I expected.
I anticipated a kind of “fine china” event, one of opulent surroundings, girls in high-style sundresses and gentlemen in those stylish Charlie Harper bowling shirts, some sporting the same hats they wear to places like, well, Del Mar Opening Day.
Instead, what I got was more of a county fair setting. For starters, it’s in a field. A big field. Standing in for the tacky fatty foods and carnival rides were the wines and balloons. The wines were lined up in booths in an L-shaped layout and around them were people lounging on the grass wearing tee shirts and shorts.
That’s not a knock on the event, by the way. Quite the opposite. In fact, it was a bit of a relief.
So here’s what I learned and what you should know about going to this event:
• The 2020 festival is May 29-31.
• If you’re going on Saturday, be there before 1 p.m. This is because there’s a big line of cars to get into the parking lot and it gets even longer after 1.
• Your entry price does not include any wines or food. For that, you buy tickets. Keep reading for admission and food and drink ticket prices. So bring cash or they do take credit cards. And there’s a lot more than wine – there’s a lot of beer, too. In fact, in man ways, this is more like a big picnic/music festival/beer event than a wine festival.
• The balloons fill the sky early in the morning. To get a ride, you must make a reservation weeks in advance. To see them in the sky, you must be up by about 8 a.m. To see the balloons up close, well that’s easy. At dusk, they bring them into the middle of the big field, tether them to the ground and fire up the flames. It’s the most spectacular site of the entire festival.
• There are two stages, a kind of quiet one in the main field and a second, much bigger one where the bigger bands play in an adjacent field. There’s reserved seating there if you like but most people put down blankets and lawn chairs and use that as their home base for the day and night.
• In between the two fields it a merchandise area selling anything you can think of related to the outdoors, from jacuzzis to bags of gourmet popcorn.
• Unlike most wine (and beer) festivals, this is not a three- to four-hour event. It goes on from the time you get there until midnight. Plan accordingly. And by that we mean your wardrobe (hot in the daytime, chilly at night) and your drinking pace.
Temecula Wine & Balloon Festival Facts
• Tickets: Friday & Sunday, $23 in advance, $30 at the gate. Saturday, $33 in advance, $40 at the gate. Full weekend, $60 Beer & Wine tickets are 12 for $24 and 30 for $60; wine tastings are one ticket, a glass of wine is four tickets, beers are four and five tickets. Parking: $7 in advance, $10 on site.
• 2020 Bands (TBA; will post here when announced)
– Friday: (6 p.m.) (7 p.m.) (8:30 p.m.)
– Saturday:– Dishwalla (5:30 p.m.,), (7 p.m.), (8:30 p.m.)
– Sunday: – (1 p.m.), (1:45 p.m.), (2:30 p.m.), (3:30 p.m.)
• Location: Lake Skinner Recreation Area, 37701 Warren Road, Winchester, CA
• Link: PubClub.com Event Review
• Event Website: www.tvbwf.com