PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Fourteen balloons sailed over the Aroostook River Saturday after launching from Johnson Highway in Presque Isle.
Because the solar was on its descent, the balloon pilots landed in between the vegetable fields alongside Route 1.
The Crown of Maine Balloon Fest attracts in folks not solely from Maine but in addition from states throughout the nation like Texas, Utah and Ohio, mentioned Jordyn Madore, who was co-chair for the Crown of Maine Balloon Fest for 4 years and served on the pageant’s committee for seven years. That is the pageant’s twentieth anniversary.
“Presque Isle — as everybody is aware of — is somewhat remoted from the remainder of the world, and when an exercise like scorching air ballooning comes up right here it’s good for the local people,” mentioned Mike Lavoie, pilot of the balloons Schmedley and Cat Sass from West Ossipee, New Hampshire.
On Thursday, Aug. 24, he flew Cat Sass within the early morning after which within the night flew Schmedley through the first day of the Balloon Fest.
Lavoie has been on the street since late June and gained’t return dwelling till early November. He has been coming as much as the Balloon Fest for the final three years. In 2021, Lavoie was voted pilot of the yr.
A couple of pilots flew over Presque Isle on the morning of Aug. 24 with the ribbon burning happening on the Northern Maine Fairgrounds achieved by final yr’s pilot of the yr Randy Lee with Spellbound Spirit III from 4 Oaks, North Carolina.
New pilots to this yr’s Balloon Fest have been Richard Piendel flying Blaser Swisslube from Annville, Pennsylvania, and Michael Olin flying Heaven Despatched from Warner, New Hampshire.
Pilots Seth Bailey with Czech Mate from Nova Scotia and John Viner with Grasp Zaba from Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom, returned to this yr’s Crown of Maine Balloon Fest after a couple of years away.
On Friday, Aug. 25, some occasions have been canceled as a result of wet climate however the meals and craft distributors have been nonetheless open. Amongst these, Wally and the Virginian arrange contained in the lengthy tan steel constructing the place the craft distributors have been situated on the Northern Maine Fairgrounds.
Everyone seems to be hopeful that the remainder of the balloon fest staples just like the Nightfall Balloon Glow will occur on Saturday, Aug. 26, and the remainder of the morning and nightfall launches occur on Sunday, Aug. 27, Madore mentioned.
In a while, the ticket gross sales for the Nightfall Balloon Glow have been introduced because the climate broke to calmer skies.
This yr Michael DePew of Nashua, New Hampshire, flew for the second time within the Crown of Maine Balloon Fest. He has been piloting balloons for 10 years. He piloted the balloon Manifesto this yr.
Manifesto was the primary to take off from the open subject on Johnson Highway on Thursday, Aug. 24. The pilot flew in low over the opposite balloons being inflated and popped up excessive over the Aroostook River.
“[Presque Isle] is just like the Kansas of New England,” DePew mentioned.
DePew’s household has been piloting balloons because the late Nineteen Seventies. DePew acquired his piloting license for balloons from Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 2013.
“It’s a really lovely space to fly in, over city or out within the countryside both approach they’re all lovely,” mentioned Marian Deeney, pilot for the Hemisphere Dancer from Monticello, Florida.
Deeney has been coming to the Crown of Maine Balloon Fest for nearly a decade. The Mainers have develop into like a second household to Deeney’s household, she mentioned.
Deeney flew on the early morning and night of the Balloon Fest on Thursday, Aug. 24.
“It’s only a beautiful space, pleasant folks and it makes you need to come again,” Deeney mentioned.
The Crown of Maine Balloon Fest is a part of an unofficial pageant circuit, with Lewiston having its Nice Falls Balloon Pageant final week. After leaving Presque Isle, the pilots went throughout the border to Bathtub, New Brunswick, and ended the circuit in Sussex, New Brunswick, Madore mentioned.
“I got here up right here very often within the late Nineteen Seventies and early Nineteen Eighties and it’s good to come back again and fly right here,” Lavoie mentioned.