And it’s ballooning season! Memorial Weekend started off a flurry of activity for balloonists all over the country, including many of the pilots you will see in October at Carolina BalloonFest.
Many of the top balloonists in the country were at a festival in Simpsonville, SC called Aloft. A lot of local faces were there, too, including our balloonmeister (and theirs), local pilot Sam Parks. Sam and his team worked with a local Simpsonville team to make sure that the balloon festival was a success. And it was….beautiful weather graced the area most of the weekend and there was a lot of good flying and good competition.
Competition? There are balloon competitions? Yes there are, and as we approach BalloonFest we will tell you more about these competitions and let you know the competitors you need to keep an eye on. Brothers Nick and Chase Donner have been flying our Statesville skies at Carolina BalloonFest for the last few years and you can always expect them to provide a good show. Nick has been the US National Champion for three of the last four years, but his brother Chase took the title in 2012. Nick was second in the overall competition at Aloft (edged out by former world champion Johnny Petrehn) and first in the BFA Southeast Regional Competition. Chase was fourth overall and second in the BFA SE Regional. They are off to another good year. But the season has just begun. Look for some great competition to come at these guys from some of our other Carolina BalloonFest pilots throughout the summer. You never can tell when an upset is on the way! We’ll keep an eye on things and let you know how it goes. (And heads up….word has it that some pilots may be in the Statesville area July 29-30, practicing for some of the competitions ahead and enjoying some time flying together. Keep your eyes on the skies and you may get to see a preview of things to come!)
Also spotted at Aloft was the 2013 Chairman of the Board for Carolina BalloonFest, Budd Welch, and interim Executive Director Robb Collier. They weren’t just balloon gazing…they spent their time scoping out new ideas and interesting vendors to invite to Statesville to make Carolina BalloonFest an even better event.
While balloon season is just getting started, planning for a successful BalloonFest has been happening for months. We hope hope you will be a part of this event, too...as a sponsor, a spectator or a volunteer. It’s going to be one exciting balloon season and Carolina BallonFest will be one of the highlights!
On The Breeze ~
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