Duluth balloon event is a success

The 2013 Hot Air Balloon Festival – otherwise known as Le Festival des Montgolfieres a Duluth – took place in Minnesota at the end of September, and has been hailed as a big success.

In total, 11 balloons were launched from Bayfront Park, marking not only the first balloon festival to take place in the region, but also the first time in 120 years that any balloons have flown there at all.

Alongside the take-offs, which had been planned for both sunset and sunrise, were tethered rides offered to the public. Live music, free kites for children and a ‘Craft Brew Village’ also featured on Saturday, with all events at the festival free for all attendees.

After strong winds on the Friday, five of the balloons were successfully launched into the sky on Saturday morning, with the remainder taking off during that evening.

Following a shaky start, the first to fly was ‘Sunny Daze’, a huge balloon comprising 120,000 cubic feet of space – or the equivalent of three two-storey houses placed on top of one another. This was followed by ‘Kaleidoscope’, ‘Snowflake’ and a number of others.

Crew member to Ed Chapman – considered the ‘balloonmeister’ of the festival – was Mark Orvik, 58, of New Prague, Minnesota. He spoke of his passion for the activity, saying:

“I’d rather be on the ground wishing I was in the air than in the air wishing I was on the ground.”

He went on to elaborate on the fact that balloons need to fly in winds of less than 10 mph, otherwise they will simply wave around from side to side.

Leave a Reply