Kentucky hot air balloon festival a success

Last weekend saw the Kentucky Derby Festival BalloonFest take place amongst largely favourable weather conditions.

Around 63,000 people attended the US Bank Kentucky Derby Festival Great Balloon Glow on Friday, 25th April, at 9pm. Held at the Kentucky Exposition Center, this was the 21st year that the event had taken place. Dozens of colourful balloons were inflated and moved in time to a musical score whilst glowing in the dark.

Meanwhile, the next day saw The Great Balloon Race, with 31 hot air balloons rising at dawn.

The U.S bank, which sponsored the festival, led the race with its balloon piloted by Scott McClinton. More a test of accuracy than speed, the challenge, which started in 1973 in Louisville, involved pilots throwing bags of seed down onto a target below, with the winner’s closest to the ‘X’.

Sean Askren, who piloted The Jaspar Engines & Transmissions balloon, won first prize with a distance of one foot two inches. It was the first time that he had won after four years of taking part in the competition.

Stuart Enloe, who piloted the RE/MAX balloon, came in second with one foot three inches. Travis Vencel in the Park Community Federal Credit Union balloon was third, with a distance of one foot eleven inches, whilst fourth place went to Tim Basey with the Kroger balloon. Finally, fifth place was awarded to Nick Donner with the Tran Orthodontics balloon.

Overall, 16 pilots completed the race, with several more drifting off course into nearby Oldham County, thereby being unable to throw their target.

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