We’re marching into the six month countdown for the Plano Balloon Festival Races with the unveiling of the 1K and 5K finisher medals! The 9th Annual PBF Races include custom finisher medals for each distance that reflect a hot air balloon for each year.
These three inch custom medals were designed by Running Awards & Apparel and have unique features on each one. The 1K finisher medal is blue with 11 colors and jump ring attachment to the satin printed ribbon.
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Ascend into Spring and sign-up for early runner registration for the Plano Balloon Festival Races. Early registration for the Half Marathon, 10K, 5K, 1K, Elevate Challenge, and Sky High Challenge ends on March 31st. Starting in April the prices increase up to $15 more per distance.
The Plano Balloon Festival Races will be held Saturday, September 21, 2019 and Sunday, September 22, 2019 at the InTouch Credit Union Plano Balloon Festival. The race location is at Oak Point Park and the Course Maps give details about water stations, starting/finish lines, mile markers and restrooms.
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An Unlikely Pilot – Guy Gauthier written by Maridee Dietzel
Guy Gauthier was terrified. Being afraid of heights, he realized that taking a ride in a hot air balloon may not have been his best idea. He survived, but as he walked away, Guy declared, “I’ll never buy one of those things!”
He and his six brothers would pursue ground-level sports. However, after competing in motorcycle racing for a number of years, the siblings were looking for a new, less messy sport that they could participate in and still be clean enough to be welcome in restaurants or even in their homes. Several more refined pastimes were mentioned, such as hang gliding, sailing, speedboating, and yes, even ballooning.
That was on a Sunday evening. On Wednesday, Guy received a call from one of his brothers, telling him, “We just bought a balloon, and your part is $3000.”
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“The Hot Business of Balloon Love” written by Maridee Dietzel
It began with a love story. Tamie Folley and Mike Shrum met at a ballooning event in the Philippines. They shared a passion for ballooning, and about a year later, they began dating.
Fast forward to 2016 when they opened their business, Happily Ever After Balloon Company. Tamie was crewing for a friend in Albuquerque when he mentioned that he had an idea that may interest them. He had noticed the shirts Tamie and Mike’s crew wore when working their pink camouflage balloon; the shirts feature a heart with wings on it. The designer wanted to build a balloon in the shape of a heart, but not just an ordinary heart. This heart has personality!
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Love is soaring with savings for the Plano Balloon Festival Races and there’s much to love about early registration fees. The Sky High Challenge will have your heart racing when you complete the 5k on Saturday, September 21 and the Half Marathon on Sunday, September 22. Or get that heartbeat fluttering with the Elevate Challenge when you complete the 5K and 10K distances.
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By: Amanda Fazzino
Balloon pilot Keith Berry caught a bug for hot air ballooning 29 years ago. “I flew as volunteer crew at a balloon festival in Missouri in 1990,” Berry recalls. “I was immediately hooked!”
That one act of service launched a decades-long commitment to the sport.
“It’s one of the most awesome feelings to be free and in control of a 75 foot tall, 50 foot wide bubble of hot air floating through the sky,” Berry says. “It’s like being able to walk on air!”
Continue reading “VOLUNTEER TURNED HOBBYIST KEITH BERRY TO PILOT FOX 4 NEWS BALLOON”
By: Morgan Kosinski
The InTouch Credit Union Plano Balloon Festival is thrilled to have the highly decorated, and equally charming, Scott Vesely return for what promises to be another epic flight.
At Dawn’s Early Light
A commercial balloon pilot since 1982, Vesely has been cruising the skies for decades.
Most recently, he led a team of twelve pilots at Dawn Patrol, a magical event at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.
“There is nothing like flying Dawn Patrol in Albuquerque,” Vesely recalls wistfully, “We watch the sunrise over the Sandia Mountains and the traffic come onto the field. There is nothing like that type of flight.”
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The Plano Balloon Festival 5K is ranked as one of the Top 5K’s in Texas by Texas Runner and Triathlete as seen featured in their Winter 2019 issue. Their list includes 34 races within the Lone Star State to receive recognition. If you’re wondering how many there are in Texas each year, then you might want to note that Running In The USA had 1,068 5K races on their calendar for 2018. Only five of those are in the City of Plano.
“This race is worthy of being one of the top five 5K’s in Texas for several reasons and from varying perspectives. For some participants it is all about the bling and our finisher medals are bright, colorful, big and feature a hot air balloon for each year of the race, so in 2019 we will have nine balloons on them. For others it is about the festival atmosphere, there is so much to do and experience at the race plus it is very family friendly. For everyone it is about seeing hot air balloons launch above you as you are running/walking the course. These are just some of the things you can’t get at any other 5K in Texas.” – Eric Lindberg, Chief Running Officer of On Your Left! Marketing & Events.
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Pilot Josh Goll and “Star Stepper” are among the 50 hot air balloons and pilots that came to the 2018 InTouch Credit Union Plano Balloon Festival. Even though they loaded up and made the trip with his family, the Festival was cancelled due to flooding. We’d like to show you his beautiful balloon and share his story.
Let’s reflect back to to 2017 and his first time on the Festival field as a pilot. It is quiet on a Sunday morning. The air is still, and the only sound is the intermittent hiss of a propane burner. The number 16 balloon, Star Stepper, glides southwest over the launch field toward a target spray painted on the grass. The pilot, Josh Goll, gets within feet of the giant red X marking the spot. He tosses a bean bag at the target, and the watching crowd break the silence to cheer his win. Goll expertly piloted his balloon so close to the target at the Festival Fly-In Competition that a spectator might forget the breeze is in control of its direction.
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Throughout the 39 years of producing this annual tradition within North Texas, the Plano Balloon Festival, Inc. has never experienced such a devastating loss. The Festival is not a large corporate entity, but rather a 501(c)3 non-profit organization led by 13 Board of Directors. The sadness, and significant economic loss, is shared with the 58 local non-profits, 75 vendors, dozens of sponsors, pilots, crew, and more than 5,000 volunteers who were committed to the event.
The Festival mission is to produce a family-oriented ballooning event to benefit the community. The objective is to also offer other non-profits an opportunity to assist with the operations of the Festival and raise funds. These agencies work the gates, parking lots, kids fun zone and the races. For their services these non-profits are compensated a portion of the revenue. However, this year they earned no money to apply towards their impactful programs within the community.
Continue reading “CHARITABLE SPIRITS LIFT UP THE PLANO BALLOON FESTIVAL”