Global balloon festival returns to Substantial River for 10th 12 months


The windswept prairie east of the Rocky Mountains appears to be an not likely location for a incredibly hot-air balloon pageant, but the town of High River, Alta., is celebrating the event’s 10th year.

Far more than 20 brightly colored balloons — like a pink elephant, a black and yellow bee and the purple and yellow Eye of Ra, named following the Egyptian sunshine god — took benefit of a lull in the prevailing wind this week to get some up-in-the-air time to mark the opening of the Heritage Inn Intercontinental Balloon Competition.

“We get about 50 for each cent of our flights off. Temperature impacts us all over the place,” said celebration director Jamie Kinghorn, who is also a town councillor.

“This is our 10th. We started in 2013 partly for the reason that of the flood that transpired. I’d been to a selection of balloon gatherings and imagined this may possibly carry the spirits of the people in town.”

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The city of 12,000 just south of Calgary gained an intercontinental profile in 2013 when flooding in components of southern Alberta induced billions of dollars in destruction.

Substantial River was one particular of the hardest-hit communities. Entire neighbourhoods were underneath h2o for months.

“I known as in a bunch of mates from the balloon community and they realized what happened, so 20 of them arrived into High River and we set on a balloon pageant that was essentially remarkable for the group,” Kinghorn stated.

“That was type of the 1st key point toward recovery immediately after the flood and we have been undertaking it each yr considering the fact that at the close of September.”


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Kinghorn said the competition is a boon to community tourism and there is not a hotel place to be had in town.

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He had his initial warm air balloon about the metropolis of Calgary in 1988. A calendar year later he was a balloon pilot.

There are 23 balloons collaborating this year, together with some from the United States, Belgium and the United Kingdom.

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Kinghorn stated it’s a really tiny community.

“We tend to meet at a variety of events. We tend to vacation. We’re form of like carnies to some extent,” he mentioned with a snicker.

“We vacation about to distinct metropolitan areas to unique balloon situations.”

Alan Davidson, who has been included in the sport given that 1977, is one of the volunteers.

He claimed those people who get concerned are likely to stick with it.

“The remarkable thing is that there are nevertheless seven or 8 of the men and women I was ballooning with in the ’70s and early ’80s who are continue to right here at this event,” mentioned Davidson. ‘They’ve been working with balloons for more than 40 a long time.”

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Kinghorn, who is the operator and pilot of the Eye of Ra, was the to start with balloon in the air Thursday morning following a Wednesday evening flight was cancelled thanks to the wind.

“My God am I happy we acquired this off,” he claimed as the flight came to an conclude.

The competition operates through Sunday.

© 2022 The Canadian Press



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