Area residents will undoubtedly notice the sky will be extra colorful over the next few days — and, no, it won't be a rainbow's doing.

Area residents will undoubtedly notice the sky will be extra colorful over the next few days — and, no, it won't be a rainbow's doing.

In a first for Shawnee, Citizen Potawatomi Nation is bringing the FireLake Fireflight Balloon Fest to the community this weekend, which will include nationally acclaimed balloon-meister Pat Harwell, BMX races, live mixed martial arts fights, concerts and more.

Jennifer Bell, public information director for Citizen Potawatomi Nation, said the purpose of the event is really to put on a show for the community and bring people into town and show them what CPN and Shawnee have to offer.

“A lot of what we do is tourism driven, which helps to boost the tribal and city economies,” she said. “An event of this size will bring people in to enjoy what the tribe has to offer, but locals are also going to see an increase in business.”

Bell said the festival was the vision of CPN Vice-Chairman Linda Capps.

“She wanted to bring one to Shawnee and our realty director, Charles Meloy, happened to be in Albuquerque while they were having their festival — which hosts hundreds of balloons,” Bell said.

“Ms. Capps asked him to learn what he could about the event and, from there, he and CPN employee Kelley Francen really began to figure out how to make the event happen,” she said.

Bell said the duo had been working on the proposal and researching for a year or so before the event committee came together in January of this year.

The result of their efforts is three days of balloons and festivities.

Touting a lineup of food trucks all weekend, a beer garden, 1k and 5k races and more, the weekend will be full of balloon glows, balloon rides and competitions at the Citizen Potawatomi Nation Powwow Grounds.

Parking and entry to the festival are free, thanks to festival sponsors CPN, Tyler Media, BlueCross BlueShield of Oklahoma, Propane Services and VGT.

The festivities begin this afternoon at 4 p.m.


Saturday’s events begin with the National Anthem at 7 a.m., followed by balloon competitions. Activities for the day include fishing, a kids’ zone, mini putt and art show open at 10 a.m. Festival-goers can continue to enjoy the food trucks and beer garden. BMX shows will take place every half hour from Creative Sports BMX from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., followed by concerts by Amanda Coffee and Zodiac. The evening will close with tethered balloon rides, the National Anthem at dusk, a Foghat concert and the nightly balloon glow.


A $5 pancake breakfast will be held from 6 to 10 a.m. Sunday. Proceeds from the event will be donated to domestic violence victim services. The 1k and 5k races start at 7 a.m. The event will begin at FireLake Mini-Putt located at 1700 S. Gordon Cooper Dr. Runners of all ages are welcome and can register for the race online. Race registration is $15 and all runners can present their finisher’s medal for a free pancake breakfast.

For event schedules, vendor information, directions or race registration, visit