More than 30 hot air balloons are set to fly over Ascension Parish starting Friday evening as the Ascension Parish Hot Air Balloon Festival kicks off at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center.

Admission to the festival is $2, and other games, carnival rides and attractions will have fees.

The carnival rides are a feature of this year’s festival, and discounted tickets will be offered in advance.

Martin McConnell, chairman of the festival committee, said the carnival company, Mitchell Brothers, will offer a two-day ride pass for $55. This pass must be pre-purchased by Friday at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center business office. The purchased pass will be in the form of a ticket that is redeemed at the carnival ticket booth. Riders will be given a bracelet at that time.

The carnival company is also offering a special time-frame rate of $25 for rides from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday. Special rates of $25 also will be offered from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday. Riders may purchase the time-frame rate tickets at the carnival ride ticket booth.

The festival grounds open at 4 p.m. Friday and at 10 a.m. Saturday.

For more information about the 2014 Ascension Hot Air Balloon Festival, visit www.ascension ballooning.com.

Potatoes, pecans on sale

The Ascension 4-H Foundation is selling sweet potatoes and pecans to raise money for scholarships and 4-H programs in Ascension Parish.

Orders must be completed by Oct. 20, a news release from the foundation said.

Sweet potatoes are $12 for a 10-pound box and $25 for a 40-pound box. Bergeron’s shelled pecans will be sold for $25 for a three-pound box.

The items will be available for pickup from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Nov. 5 and Nov. 6 at the 4-H office, 9039 S. St. Landry Road, Gonzales.

To order, call the 4-H office at (225) 621-5799.

COA membership drive underway

The Ascension Council on Aging is holding its annual membership drive through Oct. 6.

Membership in the council is open to parish residents age 18 and older. There is no fee for membership.

Residents interested in the problems and concerns of the elderly and wishing to serve in some capacity may apply at 101 Bocage Drive in Donaldsonville and 526 S. Irma Blvd. in Gonzales.

The annual meeting of the Ascension Council on Aging is set for 6 p.m. Oct. 20 at the Gonzales Senior Center.

Quilt to be raffled

St. John Primary and St. Theresa Middle schools are raffling a one-of-a-kind, handcrafted quilt at the annual Festival of Friends Oct. 3-5.

This year’s fair quilt features purple, gold and black fabrics, highlighted with tiger print.

Tickets will be on sale before and after Mass on Saturday and Sunday at St. Theresa of Avila Catholic Church in Gonzales.

The quilt will be on display and tickets can be purchased during the weekend of the Festival of Friends. The winning ticket will be pulled on Oct. 5.

Raffle ticket chances cost $1 each or 6 chances for $5.

Contact Darlene Denstorff by phone, (225) 336-6952 or (225) 603-1996; fax, (225) 644-5851; or email, ascension@theadvocate.com or ddenstorff@theadvocate.com. Deadline: noon Monday.