One of the biggest summer events in our area includes legendary musical acts, hot air balloons and Binghamton’s indigenous dish, Spiedies.

Get ready because one of the biggest events of our summer, the 33rd annual Spiedie Fest and Balloon Rally starts this Friday, August, st 4th and continues through Sunday, August 6th

I grew up on the North Side of Binghamton, just a few blocks from Otsiningo Park and remember the very first year that Spiedie Fest was held (it drew a crowd of about 4,000 people). At the time, there was no way I could envision that this event would grow so big and regularly bring in 100,000 people from all around New York and beyond, or that it would help raise over $1 million dollars for local charities.

Spiedie Fest has been an ever growing event and has expanded way beyond its name sake, in fact, the Spiedie is kind of overshadowed by other events included in the festival each year.

This year’s lineup of entertainers includes Stefan from the TV Series “Vampire Diaries”  Amanda Ayala from “the Voice” Blue Oyster Cult, Eddie Money, Savannah Harmon, Kellie Pickler and Sara Evans.

The traditional Spiedie  Cooking Competition and many other events, including the Hot Air Balloon launches each morning and evening (weather permitting) are also planned.

Over a generation of Southern Tier residents have grown up with this annual festival that started on a river bank with a few planted trees 33 years ago. I used to fish along that river bank when there was nothing but some tall grass.

Each year when this event comes around I think about my very first experience with a spiedie, I was at Sharkey’s Restaurant on Glenwood avenue. It was a beef spiedie and yes, I loved it.

Come out this weekend to Otsiningo Park and enjoy the food, fun, and camaraderie of our Spiedie Fest and Balloon Rally. And don't forget to check out the full schedule of events to see what's happening each day.

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