Plenty of people will soon be rushing to the southeast Iowa town of Ottumwa so they can watch others fly away. The Wapello County seat is hosting hot air balloon races in a festival that starts today (Wednesday) and runs through Sunday. Joy Johnston is executive director of Ottumwa’s Partners in Progress.She says activities are focused on the dozens of big, colorful balloons, which Johnston says will be scooting across the sky in large groups, racing for time and distance. She says people can get up close to the flying contraptions on Friday night. She says it’s exciting to see the fire in the balloons at night as they take off. She calls it an “awesome sight.”Besides the “night-glow” and the competition flights, other events during the five-day balloon festival include: a talent show, free concerts, a pork feed, a chili cookoff and a kids carnival. For more information, call 800 564-5274.