PILOT JOSH GOLL & “STAR STEPPER”

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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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.

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CRAIG RANCH RUNNING CLUB LEADS HALF MARATHON PACE TEAM

The InTouch Credit Union Plano Balloon Festival & Races include more than 3,000 volunteers that serve in various roles taking tickets, driving shuttles, crewing for pilots, and more.  For the fourth year in a row the Craig Ranch Running Club has stepped up to go the distance in a capacity that includes 13.1 miles. This trained group of runners, led by Captain Rick Johnson, will provide on-site support as the Pace Team for the Plano Balloon Festival Half Marathon participants.

 

If you’ve never run a half marathon then you probably don’t understand why other runners would need volunteers to actually run alongside you. However, there are thousands who started with a 1k and eventually find themselves at the starting line of a half marathon. They likely trained with a group and will be prepared for the challenge. But, maybe they have a personal goal in mind.  Continue reading “CRAIG RANCH RUNNING CLUB LEADS HALF MARATHON PACE TEAM”

THE 10K RACE HAS A NEW FESTIVAL FINISH

Good news! The 10K race for 2018 is officially sold out with a maximum registration of 750 runners. Even better news is that the finish line for the 10K ends back at the festival.  The course originally had a route that started at the festival, north on Jupiter Road, southeast on Los Rios Blvd, and then a zig zag of more than 10 streets, to finish at Bob Woodruff Park and wait to be shuttled back to the festival.

 

“We are fortunate to discover a new section of trail that allows the 10K finish at the festival with the half marathon runners. The benefit is the 10K participants finish directly at the festival and don’t have to ride shuttles. They’ll have immediate access to the food, entertainment, and a chance to see the folks who came to cheer when they cross the finish line,” says Eric Lindberg, Chief Running Officer with On Your Left! Marketing & Events.

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WANT TO WIN A RIDE IN A HOT AIR BALLOON?

We’ve given away tickets and parking passes over the years. In fact, there have been a lot of giveaways of t-shirts, posters, and festival items. This contest is for a private ride in a hot air balloon with a pilot here in Plano the week of the InTouch Credit Union Plano Balloon Festival at Oak Point Park. We’re not talking about a tethered ride where you hover above the ground and descend within minutes. It’s a bucket list experience to lift-off and fly in a majestic invention that doesn’t have a steering wheel, motor or wheels. A truly unforgettable adventure that ends with a champagne toast and a prayer.

THE BALLOONIST’S PRAYER

“May the winds welcome you with softness.
May the sun bless you with its warm hands.
May you fly so high and so well that God joins you in laughter
And sets you gently back into the loving arms of Mother Earth.”
~Author Unknown

 

The contest began last month and ends on Monday, September 17 at 8:00 p.m. CST. The date of the flight will be determined by the pilot but scheduled to take place between September 19-23 depending of course, on the weather.  Must be 18 years or older to enter the Hootsuite based campaign that will randomly select the winner to be contacted and announced on Facebook and social media channels.  The terms and conditions are detailed within the contest form. Are you ready to take flight?

 

TWENTY-YEAR VOLUNTEER REMEMBERS THE BEST OF THE PLANO BALLOON FESTIVAL

In 1998, a hot air balloon came to rest on a quiet street in Murphy, TX. Trevor Laswell was only seven years old and this captured his attention. He expressed his interest in wanting to get involved with ballooning to the pilot, who referred him to crew training at the Plano balloon festival. That same year, Laswell took his first ride in a balloon with Suzanne and Don Smith in their balloon Hours Stars. Laswell’s father, Steve Laswell, was the festival’s volunteer coordinator at the time helped get the young Laswell involved.

 

Laswell has been involved with the Plano Balloon Festival for 20 years, most recently serving on the balloon operations team, which ensures the safety of the pilots and spectators and assists with all the details of the actual balloons. He’s come a long way since he was seven. Continue reading “TWENTY-YEAR VOLUNTEER REMEMBERS THE BEST OF THE PLANO BALLOON FESTIVAL”

INTOUCH CREDIT UNION PLANO BALLOON FESTIVAL WINS BEST OF PLANO MAGAZINE 2018

InTouch Credit Union Plano Balloon Festival was named the Best Event/Festival in the Past Year in Plano by Plano Magazine for 2018. The magazine collected 97,697 votes to get the Best of Plano Magazine 2018 winners in several categories. Plano Magazine staff and contributors nominate events, business and services for the Best Of Awards, which are then voted on by people in the community. See the complete list of winners here. Voters also chose InTouch Credit Union Plano Balloon Festival as in the Best Event/Festival in Plano in 2017 after 239,570 votes were cast.

 

The airborne balloons and fireworks make InTouch Credit Union Plano Balloon Festival the most visible event in town, and one of the most exciting. But the hot air balloons aren’t the only draw. On September 21-23, 2018, festival weekend also includes the Kids Korner in the Central Market Kids Fun Zone, RE/MAX of Texas Parachute Team Exhibition, live entertainment on two stages, fireworks show, delicious festival food, and the Plano Balloon Festival Half Marathon, 10K, 5K and 1K. Registration for all races is available online only. The festival opens at 4:00 p.m. on Friday, September 21. Find the full schedule of events here.

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LABOR DAY SAVINGS FOR PLANO BALLOON FESTIVAL RACES

General runner registration for the Plano Balloon Festival Races officially ended on August 31, 2018 but this is the last discount offer and it is available this weekend only.  Runners can save $5.00 on the Half Marathon, 10K, Sky High Challenge, Elevate Challenge, 5K, and 1K distances with code PBFLABORDAY starting September 1 thru September 3, 2018.

 

Commemorative finisher medals have been designed for each race and they feature eight colorful hot air balloons to mark the annual race held at the InTouch Credit Union Plano Balloon Festival at Oak Point Park.  New this year, runners can also choose to have their finisher medals personalized on-site by “Engrave My Medal.” 

 

2018 Finisher Medals for the Plano Balloon Festival Races

Go the distance September 22-23, 2018 at the Plano Balloon Festival Half Marathon, Sky High Challenge, Elevate Challenge, 10K, 5K, and 1K races to receive dazzling commemorative finisher medals featuring eight hot air balloons! Registered runners also receive two tickets to the InTouch Credit Union Plano Balloon Festival plus parking on race day. #PBFRaces #PlanoBalloon www.pbfraces.org | The Sky High Challenge includes the 5K on 9/22 and the Half Marathon on 9/23. The Elevate Challenge includes the 5K on 9/22 and the 10K on 9/23. Challenge races include a third bonus finish medal and we hope to you at the starting line!

Posted by PBF Races on Friday, June 22, 2018

 

The Plano Balloon Festival Races continues to welcome thousands of runners to the starting line and therefore all registration must be done online in advance.  Registration is not available in-person at packet pick-up or on-site prior to the races. All runners must register online: www.pbfraces.org  Groups of 10 or more adults are eligible for a discount and should contact info@oylmarketing.com for registration information.

 

KLUV MAIN STAGE FEATURES DOWNTOWN FEVER AND GOOD QUESTION BAND

The InTouch Credit Union Plano Balloon Festival has a launch field for the hot air balloons and the KLUV Main Stage for the entertainment! This year Downtown Fever, an Emerald City Band, will kick-off the opening of the gates on Friday, September 21, 2018 and take the stage at 4:15 p.m.  The crowds will make their way to field and see the RE/MAX of Texas Parachute Team Exhibition jump out of an airplane at 5:30 p.m., and Downtown Fever will light up the stage again for two more sets at 7:00 p.m. and 8:45 p.m.

 

 

On Saturday, September 22, 2018 we’ve got Texas based Good Question Band in concert on the KLUV Main Stage presented by T-Mobile starting at 4:00 p.m. They have three more igniting sets on stage at 7:00 p.m., 8:30 p.m., and 9:30 p.m. In between those sets we’re going to squeeze in the RE/MAX Parachute Team Exhibition, the Hot Air Balloon Glow, and a Spectacular Fireworks Show presented by Bimbo Bakeries USA at 9:00 p.m.  The festival closes for the evening at 10:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

 

 

The schedule of events for Friday & Saturday is detailed below and the full schedule for Sunday is available online:   https://www.planoballoonfest.org/events

 

Friday, Sept. 21
4:00 PM – Festival Opens and Bus Service Begins
4:15 PM – Downtown Fever in Concert on the KLUV Main Stage
5:30 PM – RE/MAX of Texas Parachute Team Exhibition
6:00 PM – Balloon Activities presented by RE/MAX
7:00 PM – Downtown Fever in Concert on the KLUV Main Stage
8:00 PM – Balloon Glow – Balloon Glow
8:45 PM – Downtown Fever in Concert on the KLUV Main Stage
10:00 PM – Festival Closes
Saturday, Sept. 22
6:00 AM – Gates and Parking Lots Open | Bus Service Begins
7:00 AM – Balloon Activities presented by the City of Plano
7:30 AM – 5K Run / Walk
8:00 AM – Balloon Fly-In Competition
9:00 AM – 1K Run / Walk
9:30 AM – 5K Awards Ceremony
4:00 PM – Good Question Band in Concert on the KLUV Main Stage presented by T-Mobile
5:30 PM – RE/MAX of Texas Parachute Team Exhibition
6:00 PM – Balloon Activities presented by InTouch Credit Union
7:00 PM – Good Question Band in Concert on the KLUV Main Stage presented by T-Mobile
8:00 PM – Balloon Glow
8:30 PM – Good Question Band in Concert on the KLUV Main Stage presented by T-Mobile
9:00 PM – Spectacular Fireworks Show presented by Bimbo Bakeries USA
9:30 PM – Good Question Band in Concert on the KLUV Main Stage presented by T-Mobile
10:00 PM – Festival Closes

PHOTOGRAPHER BADGE DRAWING SELECTS TWENTY WINNERS

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: social@planoballoonfest.org and thank you to everyone who submitted their photos for the drawing!