Sunday, August 24, 2008

Epping balloon festival taking you to new heights

Some will come seeking a thrilling ride aboard a colorful hot air balloon. Others will come for the wide variety of food, music, and other entertainment.
But everyone who attends the 8th annual Highnote Balloon and Music Festival will come for the same reason: To honor the legacy of Adam McPhee.
The festival will be held Saturday, Sept. 6, from 2 p.m. until dark at the grounds of the Governor Prescott House on the McPhee family farm on Prescott Road in Epping where Adam’s name is grown in the hay field as a memorial.
The festival is held each year to raise money for the Adam McPhee Memorial Foundation and awareness of people with disabilities.
Adam was born with disabilities and was the first student to enter Epping High School with a special inclusion program.
The McPhee family established a fund in Adam's name after he died in 1999, the same year he graduated from Epping High School. Money raised supports local charities and provides scholarships for students who choose a career working with people with disabilities.Over the years, the festival has become not only a celebration for family and friends who knew Adam but a community event that draws as many as 500 people each year to the McPhee farm. The festival has raised about $50,000 for the foundation since it began.
“Adam was very special to the family and to be able to help others in our community and outside our community with the fundraiser is more than enough to keep everybody enthusiastic about it,” said Adam’s brother, Cory McPhee of Epping. “It really has become a staple event in the community, almost like an old home day event.”
Tickets to the festival cost $15 for adults; children and high school students are free. While the music and other events at the festival are held rain or shine, the hot air balloon rides and a fireworks display are weather permitting.
Tethered balloon rides will begin at 5 p.m. Private balloon flights will be available for morning and afternoon departure by appointment by calling pilot Bob Russell at 895-3909.
Music will include performances by Oncoming Traffic, Matt & Howard, and Wayne from Maine with percussionist Jimmy James, the “KoongaBoonga Man.”
Other activities include mechanical bull rides, hay rides, arts and crafts for children of all ages, local artisan exhibit booths, and a horseshoe tournament. Food will be provided by Goody Cole’s Smokehouse and Zampa Restaurant.
For more information, visit the Web site for the festival,
Additional donations can be made to The Adam McPhee Memorial Foundation, 174 Prescott Road, Epping, N.H., 03042.

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