Congratulations to the 20 lucky winners selected to receive a 2019 Photographer Badge and parking pass to the InTouch Credit Union Plano Balloon Festival. The call for entries began August 11 and the drawing was held Monday, August 19 at the Festival Preview in the parking lot of Central Market in Plano.


The badge permits unlimited admission throughout the three-day weekend to attend the scheduled activities such as the balloon launch in the mornings and balloon glow in the evenings.  Photographers are also allowed to show their badge and walk onto the field to get shots with their cameras that are so close you can feel the heat of the burners and hear the roar of the crowds.




The InTouch Credit Union Plano Balloon Festival is going to inflate a hot air balloon in the parking lot at Central Market in Plano on Monday, August 19 from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.  We’re going to be giving away free general admission tickets to the festival so come by and see us!


If you’re really into food then you might get hypnotized by Hatch during Hatchsteria happening August 7-20! Central Market is featuring over 200 specialty Hatch-infused goodness around every corner within the store.




Twenty local shutterbugs were randomly selected as winners of a Photographer Badge and VIP parking pass valid September 21-23, 2018 at the InTouch Credit Union Plano Balloon Festival. The badge allows the photographer access to the festival and more importantly the ability to walk onto the launch field with their cameras to capture an up close view of the hot air balloons, crew, pilots, and the thousands of fans in attendance.


The Festival Preview & Photographer Badge Drawing was promoted on Facebook  and held on Friday, August 10, 2018 in the parking lot at Central Market located at 320 Coit Road in Plano, Texas.



Congratulations to the following winners of the drawing:  Warren Harris, Elizabeth Luse, Shelley D. Franklin, Joe Paul, Dennis Brickett, John Babis, Artist German, Randy Ratzlaff, Alan Daniel, Juan Samuel Barajas, Henry Pereyda, Bob Watkins, Meredith Joyce, John Lightle, Elizabeth Buchanan, Augustin Samson, Lisa Sutherlin, Sandra Young, Millie Hooper, and Kyle Bunch.


Photographers who were present at the time of the drawing received their packages and all other winners will receive their packages by regular mail. For more information please email: and thank you to everyone who submitted their photos for the drawing!



InTouch Credit Union Balloon
InTouch Credit Union Balloon

It’s August and the temperature is rising above triple digits here in the Lone Star State.  In the “Land of Enhatchment” the heat is cranked up even more in celebration of 22 years as the “hatchiest place on Earth” at Central Market.  Last Thursday local pilot Scott Vesely inflated and tethered the InTouch Credit Union hot air balloon in the parking lot at the Central Market location at 320 Coit Road in Plano.



Stephanie Johnson Hair Face Photo
Stephanie Johnson
Hair Face Photo

By guest contributor Stephanie Johnson

Dallas-based visual artist and photographer Stephanie Johnson offers these professional tips for taking photographs of hot air balloons at the InTouch Credit Union Plano Balloon Festival:

  • Community events gather large crowds, so go in with a game plan. Know where you’ll park and where you’ll predominantly want to be. Be sure to plan what you’ll bring versus what you will not want to weigh you down.
  • Plan your gear choices being sure to limit your lenses to less than a few multifocal lenses versus too many prime ones. The ability to follow along a balloon will be helpful when things start moving quickly. Also, be sure to pack a tripod or monopod. The most photographed times of morning or sundown ­ when the balloonsare wanting to be “glowing” ­ the tripod or monopod can help greatly with camera stabilization in low lightatmospheres.
  • Walkable, comfortable clothing and shoes will be something you thank yourself for doing.
  • Not only does this help with being able to catch set up, it allows you the opportunity to scope the balloons that will be around.
  • Focus on a few in a close area to watch through take off so you don’t miss any of the potential photographs that come from that time. You don’t want to be caught up in a crowd when you could be capturing a greatmoment.
  • If you can only manage to have one lens with you on your camera then go as wide as you can. A kit lens (one that comes with your camera) is often an 18­55 and that gives you a good, standard range to play with. Honestly, the less to carry in your bag, the less you have to deal with and the less chance you have of missing a good moment because of lens change.
  • Remember that these balloons are much larger than many people realize (until they see them up close) soyou would hate to get there and have equipment that keeps you from capturing the whole of themagnificence.
  • Whether you want the glow to go through the balloon from behind, or to reflect onto it directly, you’ll have tobe aware of the big bulb in the sky. Photography is an active and anticipatory process so being aware of where things are headed can help you grab a great photo at the right time.
  • There will be many levels of light from morning to night so you will have to be able to anticipate and adjust your settings accordingly.
  • Because of the large amount of people and equipment at an event of this magnitude, it is important to not gettoo caught up in it all. It can be really easy to be so into the act of photographing that you fail to notice ropes, cords, holes in the ground, etc.
  • Wear sunscreen and be sure to stay hydrated. Even on a cooler day, a lot of time outdoors with the sun and crowds can be quite harsh on the body. Be sure to take care of you.

Find out more about Stephanie Johnson, an award-winning photojournalist, by visiting The 2016 InTouch Credit Union Plano Balloon Festival will be held September 23-25 at Oak Point Park and tickets are available

Five Winning Photos “Alive With Color”

The InTouch Credit Union Plano Balloon Festival & Run held its first annual photo contest this summer and the judging concluded with five winning photographs. The contest was co-sponsored by AlleeOops Photography, owned by award-winning photographer, Janelle Twyford-Sylvis, who also serves as a member on the Plano Balloon Festival Inc. Board of Directors.

“AlleeOops Photography is proud to be a part of this new element of the festival. The winning photos reflect different aspects of ballooning and the emotions we all experience when we see them take flight,” said Janelle Twyford-Sylvis.

Adult (18 and over) professional and amateur photographers from across the nation submitted digital entries online through The panel of judges convened at Corner Wines in Plano to vote for the top images in each category and the following winners were selected:

Most Creative – Amy Leone

Best Technical – Kelsey Kruzich

Best Elemental – Bre Fitzgerald

Best Aerial – Tayla Arbisser

Best of Show – Cece Liekar

The winning photographs will be printed and mounted by BWC Imaging, used for a touring photo exhibit, and on display September 19-21, 2014 at the InTouch Credit Union Plano Balloon Festival & Run.

Celebrating more than 35 years as a community non-profit, the Plano Balloon Festival, Inc. anticipates that thousands of new pictures will be captured this year by attendees. Photographers are invited to participate next year in the 2015 photo contest that will include new categories for additional age groups (17 and younger). The schedule of events for the festival may be found on the website:
Social tags

Twitter: @planoballoon

Instagram: #planoballoon
About Plano Balloon Festival, Inc.

The Plano Balloon Festival, Inc. is a non-profit 501c3 organized in 1987 for the purpose of staging a premier community-based and family-oriented hot air balloon event, offering other local non-profits volunteer opportunities within the Festival operations. The Plano Balloon Festival, Inc. makes a direct impact on the Collin County community by dispersing funds to participating non-profit agencies and has donated more than $2.5 million since inception.


Plano Balloon Festival Photo Contest

Professional and amateur photographers from across the nation have an opportunity to participate in the 2014 Inaugural InTouch Credit Union Plano Balloon Festival photo contest sponsored by the Plano Balloon Festival, Inc. and AlleeOops Photography. Media is limited to photography.


Digital photos must be submitted online through CaFE no later than July 15, 2014 along with the $28.00 fee for one entry. The two entry fee is $35.00. Entrants agree to enter their images via digital transmission at a maximum of 4000 pixels on the longest edge, 300 dpi.


Judging will take place on July 17, 2014 and winner notification will be no later than July 21, 2014. Winning images will be printed and mounted by BWC Imaging. These prints will be used for a touring photo exhibit and promotion of the event. The top five winning photographs will be on display at the festival September 19-21, 2014.


Entrants grant Plano Balloon Festival, Inc. the license to promote the festival using their photos.

Five Categories:

1) Under 18 (17 and younger) – Overall for Age Group

2) Under 18 (17 and younger) – Most Creative or Unusual in this Age Group

3) Adult (18 and older) – Overall for Age Group

4) Adult (18 and older) – Most Creative or Unusual in this Age Group

5) Overall Plano Balloon Festival Photo Contest Winner

For additional questions contact:

Janelle Twyford-Silvis: Photo Contest Coordinator 972-679-5742

Jo Via: Festival Executive Director 972-867-7566