Spiedie Fest and Balloon Rally

Spiedie Fest and Balloon Rally
Photo: spiediefest.com
The Spiedie Fest and Balloon Rally is an annual hot air balloon festival held in Binghamton, New York, United States. Founded in 1985, it takes place at Otsiningo Park every summer. The festival attracts over 100,000 attendees every year.

The festival was named after a famous regional dish that is very popular in the Southern Tier of the state of New York. The spiedie is a sandwich made with cubes of meat marinated in a special marinade and then grilled on spits over a charcoal pit. Freshly prepared cubes of chicken, beef, lamb, pork, veal or venison are served on soft Italian bread, the bread used as an oven glove to remove the spit from the meat. Chicken is usually the meat of choice due to cost. The marinade usually involves olive oil, vinegar, fresh mint and Italian herbs.

The spiedie was created by Camillo Iacovelli and popularized by his brother Augie (Agostino) who began serving such sandwiches in his own restaurant in 1939. Spiedies began to grow in popularity during the 1960s and 1970s. The first Spedie Fest was organized in 1983 by a few families from Binghamton. It was transformed into the Spiedie Fest and Balloon Rally in 1985 and has since become one of the most famous balloon rallies in the United States.

The Spiedie Fest and Balloon Rally is an exciting combination of a food festival and hot air balloon festival. It runs over a weekend in August, drawing thousands of people from all over the country. The festival presents rich and diverse programming that includes hot air balloon events, expo area, craft fair, food vendors, beer and wine gardens, and more.

Like other hot air balloon festivals, the Spiedie Fest and Balloon Rally features hot air balloon launches and spectacular night glows. Each festival has over 30 balloons in participation with pilots from all over the country. Of course, there are amazing special shape balloons that make the event even more exciting. Balloon flights are available, but spots are limited, so if you don't want to miss your chance, you should book a flight in advance.

Another highlight of the festival is the annual Spiedie Contest. This is the event that started it all. Anyone can apply and join the cook-off, all you need is an original spiedie recipe. There are three classes of competition, each having one to four categories. Winners are chosen by reputable judges.

Alongside balloon flights and the Spiedie Contest, the Spiedie Fest and Balloon Rally features live music (both regional and national acts), celebrity appearances, a silent auction, a car show, the Kelly LaBare 5K Run/Walk, the Annual Beach Volleyball Tournament, the Safety Pad (a child safety program), the Taste NY program, special events for children, a beer and wine garden with a fine selection of local and regional beverages, and more.

Spiedie Fest and Balloon Rally

Photo: Paul Cooper




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