A big "Yea!" for the folks show up at rainy balloon festivals determined to enjoy themselves. You are the ones dancing in the rain, cheering for the performers, holding the hands of your kids as you skip through the festival and find your own fun. You are buying things from the vendors and offering encouraging words to everyone you run into. You make us smile.
We salute you, and the lovely way you support Carolina BalloonFest! The charities that benefit from this event, such as the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life, are built upon your spirit. You are the sunshine on a cloudy day!
So, want to know a bit more about some of our fabulous pilots. Let me see....
Paul Morlock will be back with us. He and his wife Val changed their lifestyle pretty dramatically this year when they sold their house in Mooresville and began full time RV-ing. They have had many adventures and have logged a lot of miles since then. We're excited they put Carolina BalloonFest into their busy schedule. It's good to have them home for a bit!
Kenny Shumate and Grant Aiello are both former firefighters at Disney, who have also been to clown school (or is that clown college?)! Not only great pilots, but great entertainers. I'd tell you to look for them, but it may be easier to listen for them. They never fail to pay attention to the crowd and get them laughing! We've missed Grant the last couple of years, so are thrilled that Mr. Wonderful has returned!
Several corporate pilots will be in the bunch. These folks fly balloons designed especially to promote certain corporations. We happen to think it is an excellent investment for these corporations to advertise this way, so if you know anyone who works for these corporations let them know you noticed and liked it! Pete Colwell flies the Remax balloon and will be one of the pilots offering tethers at the festival. Beth Wright-Smith will be piloting the Wells Fargo balloon, a new special shaped balloon attending our festival. Look for the flying stagecoach and you can find Beth. Sean Askren will be back with with the Jasper balloon. It's always good to have Sean around so we can get an up-close-and-personal answer to the question "What would Sean Askren do?"
Every pilot has a story and we could write a book about each. I hope you're getting the picture... interesting folks will be flying our skies, won't they?
We couldn't have Carolina BalloonFest without our amazing pilots, that is for certain! Amazing describes them well....an interesting group of folks, that is for sure. Let me tell you about a few of them.
You know this is the 40th anniversary of Carolina BalloonFest (or "the balloon rally" to you long timers), right? Well, pilot Don Cline has graced our county for every single one of those festivals. Don hails from the Statesville area, but now lives in Greensboro, and he and his wife Jo have done much for the ballooning community in NC. You'll notice Don's balloon at the front of our BalloonFest logo this year. Make sure you get a picture of his balloon as he flies at this year's festival...and if you get a chance say "thank you" to the Clines for being such faithful friends and supporters to our community and to ballooning.
There are a lot of family connections in this crop of pilots. The Donner brothers will be here, Nick from Louisville, KY and Chase from Atlanta, GA. The brothers are great competitive pilots and have each been US National champions and also competitive on the world scene. Nick has been World Champion. And they're young 'uns! What are they going to do next? Keep an eye out for them in their racer balloons (the skinny ones), especially if there is a target around!
Then there are the Egertons. Buck and his wife Louise, from Asheville, are both pilots that will be flying here this weekend. Their son Drew (who now works for one of our sponsors Doosan), married his crew chief Allie Klinger Egerton, who is the daughter of Marc and Ursula Klinger of Troutman, also pilots. Marc will be flying at BalloonFest with Ursula as his chase crew chief. A lot of flying going on in that family! Drew is another one to watch when the competitions start. He'll give the Donners a run for their money. We're happy we can now call him a local!
Another local that makes us darn proud is Marsha Treacy. Marsha has been ballooning for quite a while (even at her young age) and was even chosen to represent ballooning in the Smithsonian book Women and Flight. She has flown balloons all over the world, at the Super Bowl, and piloted the balloon created for the 75th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz. Her balloon will carry the banner for the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life, our beneficiary for this year's festival.
From the Cool Spring community we have Charles Page and his wife Kristie Darling. The Pages chaired Carolina BalloonFest for several years and so are familiar faces to those who have attended past events. Kristie has acted as the officiant of quite a few weddings, both on land and in the air.
So many pilots, so many stories. More will be coming!
On The Breeze ~
Festival news about
Rain or Shine... Carolina BalloonFest is open October 15-17, 2021!
Hot Air Balloon Flights are scheduled twice daily; early morning & late afternoon. All ballooning activities including static display, tethered rides and balloon flights are weather-dependent. The decision to inflate hot air balloons is made just prior to the scheduled ballooning activity. Please note that due to the popularity of our festival, our admissions booths will close when we reach maximum capacity. This is a decision out of our control and made by local law enforcement. Tickets are non-refundable. National Balloon Rally Charities donates a portion of our festival proceeds to other local nonprofits and surrounding community agencies.
©2021 National Balloon Rally Charities, Inc. is an incorporated 501(c)(3) charitable organization and all contributions are tax deductible. A portion of proceeds raised through Carolina BalloonFest are distributed to local nonprofit organizations. PO Box 267 ~ Statesville NC 28687