Oh, how we love our Carolina BalloonFest pilots! We are a bit partial, but we think that they are some of the most fun and interesting people you are ever going to meet. Here are a few fun facts about some of those who will be with us next weekend, mostly volunteered by them.
We have to start with Mitch Miller, from Warsaw, IN, because the man knows how to entertain us when he fills out an information form! Possibly having toddler twins has perfected his nonsense talk. Mitch is still quite proud of the fact that his senior class voted him as having the most beautiful eyes (Class of 1999.) Perhaps we will run a contest during BalloonFest and see if Mitch can keep that title when in competition with all of our other pilots.
Mitch also claims he offers "Fantasy Flights" where he flies passengers wearing only his speedo. He confesses no one has ever actually purchased one of these Fantasy Flights. We're thinking maybe they should, but possibly we better check with our Balloonmeister to see if it is CBF-appropriate. If you happen to see a guy in a speedo, though, that looks like he may know a thing or two about flying a balloon say hi to Mitch. And let us know so we have a camera ready,
We have some other funny guys who will be hanging out with us. Buddies Kenny Shumate and Grant "Mr. Wonderful" Aiello are always entertaining us. Both are former firefighters at Walt Disney World and both have also attended clown college. They need no makeup.....they always make us laugh. Kenny actually flew Michael Jackson one time. As he says "the real one". You will have to find him to tell you the story! And Grant. He was named "Bell Ringer of the Year" in Iceland. We believe that is called international acclaim.
We call David Bristol "Captain" now....he was recently named a captain with US Airways, the new American Airlines. David was interested in ballooning from a young age. When he was 13 he built a balloon from scrap fabric and parts from his parent's barbeque grill.....and it flew! His balloon materials have become a bit more upscale over the years, but his mother Martha is still his supportive crew chief!
Sally Mazzocchi is a second generation balloon pilot. She's been flying for 10 years. She was recently engaged to another Carolina BalloonFest pilot Matt Lidinsky. Matt took his first flight at age seven and has been a pilot for twelve years. Sally is a music festival producer. Matt sells cheese. Hmmmm....we don't know what kind, but maybe you better find him and ask him.
Jonathan Carter says he plays with electrical lines for a living... he's a lineman. He started in ballooning at age 14 and has been flying 15 years. Jonathan has a special place in his heart for balloon rallies. He met his wife at one!
These are a few of our pilots. We do have a few characters headed our way! We'll tell you about more in the next few days. If you want to take a look at the balloons and pilots that are coming to our festival or are thinking about booking a ride, check out the Pilots and Hot Air Balloons page on our website carolinaballoonfest.com.
On The Breeze ~
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