Balloon Fiesta ready to soar

A kaleidoscope of colours is about to fill the skies of Vernon.

Balloon Fiesta will soar above Vernon during Winter Carnival from Feb. 4 to 6.

Balloon Fiesta will soar above Vernon during Winter Carnival from Feb. 4 to 6.

A kaleidoscope of colours is about to fill the skies of Vernon.

Vernon Winter Carnival’s Balloon Fiesta takes flight for its 19th year Feb. 4 to 6 (weather permitting).

Hot air balloon pilots from across the globe will be flying their balloons over the city throughout the weekend.

“So people from any vantage point can look up and see the variety of balloons and colours,” said Brittany Sjoblom, Vernon Winter Carnival office manager.

The community will also get to see the giant airships light up Polson Park during the Balloon Glow at 6 p.m. Feb. 4, following the Queen Silver Star coronation (note: parking will be limited in the park for handicapped only).

While the weekend event is sure to provide some entertainment for those on the ground, the pilots will also be having some fun of their own.

During the flights pilots participate in hare and the hound races, where the balloon maestro drops a bean bag somewhere around town and the other pilots compete to get their bean bag the closest.

Sunday’s flight features a flag grab, where a substantial cash prize is available.

“It’s a very, very hard thing to win,” said Sjoblom of the difficult game.

The pilots, who are coming from as far as Alberta, Texas and Turkey, are in need of some extra hands to handle the giant balloons.

Anyone interested in joining a crew can contact Jean Haug at 250-542-9706 or e-mail bjhaug@shaw.ca.

Crew training will be available for any new crew or anyone wanting a refresher at Polson Park Jan. 30 at 11 a.m.

Large property owners are also reminded that balloons often end up landing in farms.

If you have sensitive livestock, pets or other concerns with the balloons flying below altitudes over your property, call 250-545-2236 to have your property included in the no-fly zone.

Vernon Morning Star

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