THE HOT BUSINESS OF BALLOON LOVE

“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!

 

According to Tamie, Te aMo, who is named after Tamie and Mike (the capital T is for Tamie, and the capital M is for Mike), is a bit stubborn—he handles and flies differently than their other five balloons. Te aMo’s eyes stand up above the rest of the heart, with his black eyebrows and casual smile showing his playful nature. Two white wings on his back also rise above the rest of the heart, and his hands join in the front with his fingers forming the shape of a heart.

 

Te aMo’s designer spent five months carefully constructing him in Sao Paulo, and his first flight was over beautiful Brazil. He weighs 418 pounds when he’s not inflated. When he is inflated, he measures 84 feet across from elbow to elbow, 77 feet tall, and 45 feet front to back. He can carry up to 350 pounds in passenger weight.

 

 

True to his namesake, Te aMo loves love stories. Many couples ask to propose in front of Te aMo and then have their pictures taken with him in the background. Te aMo even plans to make an appearance at a crew member’s wedding in the not-too-distant future!

 

Te aMo loves to fly, and so does his pilot. Tamie grew up in Albuquerque and enjoyed her first flight when she was 12. A decade and a half later, she crewed a balloon for a friend’s husband at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. This time, the flight changed her life.

 

 

That “flight . . . was more spectacular than words can say!” Tamie enthused. Because of that flight, she chose to become a balloon pilot.

 

“Flying is my greatest passion,” says Tamie. “There’s no greater joy and peace.”

 

 

She is fortunate to balloon full-time, and during peak season, she flies as often as the weather allows, which can be four or more times each week. She’s had her share of challenging weather and rough landings—as says,

 

“All pilots have [those]; if they haven’t, they will at some point! I do my very best to check weather and make the safest choices every flight. I listen to my gut a lot; sometimes you don’t know why your intuition tells you what it does until later.”

 

 

Tamie and Te aMo are so popular that they’ve been able to fly together all over the world. However, her long jump flight competition (a flight in which pilots use a pre-determined amount of fuel and fly as far as possible) in Colorado with views of Pike’s Peak stands out as her most magnificent memory.

 

Tamie and Te aMo are hoping for good weather this year at the InTouch Credit Union Plano Balloon Festival.

 

TEXAS RUNNER AND TRIATHLETE LISTS PLANO BALLOON RACE IN TOP 5K’S IN TEXAS

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.

 

 
The Plano Balloon Festival 5K is projecting 3,000 runners for 2019.  Registration includes a custom t-shirt, free parking, two tickets to the InTouch Credit Union Plano Balloon Festival, complimentary breakfast on race day, plus a custom finisher medal featuring nine hot air balloons.  The fees and deadline dates are as follows:
 
$20.00 – Special Registration (Paid by 12/31/18)
$30.00 – Early Registration (Paid by 3/31)
$35.00 – General Registration I (Paid by 6/30)
$40.00 – General Registration II (Paid by 8/31)
$45.00 – September Race Registration
$20.00 – Youth 12 & Under
 

 
In February we will reveal the new 2019 design of the finisher medals along with the fantastic graphics for the shirts.
 
Curious about the 5K Course Map? This scenic certified course at Oak Point Park & Nature Preserve begins on Spring Creek, takes a turn onto Jupiter, again on Los Rios Blvd, and then back again. It includes a hydration station and tons of volunteers to pass out cups, medals, and cheer on the runners.
 

 
Want to take your run to the next level?  Sign-up for the Elevate Challenge and complete the 5K and 10K races to earn a bonus finisher medal! The registration fees and deadlines are as follows:
 
$45.00 – 2018 Special Registration (Paid by 12/31/18)
$65.00 – Early Registration (Paid by 3/31)
$75.00 – General Registration I (Paid by 6/30)
$85.00 – General Registration II (Paid by 8/31)
$95.00 – September Race Registration
$45.00 – Youth 12 & Under
 
Make sure you download the RaceJoy mobile app for live phone tracking on race day at the Plano Balloon Festival Half Marathon, 10K, 5K, and 1K races held on Saturday, September 21 and Sunday, September 22, 2019.
 
Follow PBF Races on Facebook and Instagram and use #PBFRaces as the official hashtag. www.pbfraces.org
 
Featured photo credited to Priyesh Patel taken at the 2016 InTouch Credit Union Plano Balloon Festival. #PlanoBalloon

CHARITABLE SPIRITS LIFT UP THE PLANO BALLOON FESTIVAL

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”

PILOTS SEEK VOLUNTEERS TO CREW HOT AIR BALLOONS

Have you ever wanted to learn more about hot air balloons? We are recruiting folks to help crew for pilots for the InTouch Credit Union Plano Balloon Festival the weekend of September 21-23, 2018. Volunteers will learn to help with setting up, inflating, launching, and packing up the hot air balloons after a flight during regularly scheduled balloon activities at the festival. There are two flights a day and the morning crew meets at 6:00 a.m. and finishes around 10:00 a.m. The evening crew begins at 4:00 p.m. and finish by 8:00 p.m. Breakfast is provided for the morning shift and dinner is provided after the evening shift.

Hands-on training is scheduled for 6:00 a.m. on Saturday, September 15 at Oak Point Park in Plano, Texas. In the event of rain, the training session will take place on the following day, September 16 at the same location.

Volunteers must sign-up in advance to crew for a shift and select a time slot.   https://www.planoballoonfest.org/p/getinvolved/volunteers

Follow the conversation on the Facebook event page:  https://www.facebook.com/events/293047234795238/

Continue reading “PILOTS SEEK VOLUNTEERS TO CREW HOT AIR BALLOONS”