Hot air balloon festival opens today in Duluth

Photos: Don Biresch, Creative Commons license, from a New Jersey balloon festival.
UPDATE: The gates are open and the balloon festival is under way! Watch weather conditions in Duluth to see if they affect the flight of balloons. (Wind and such).
Duluth, Minnesota, will host a hot-air balloon festival Sept. 20-22 at Bayfront Park along Lake Superior. The Duluth News Tribune has the story. Officials are set to announce the event this afternoon at a press conference. (UPDATE: The event is here, with balloon displays, rides and a kite festival)

The event is being billed as Le Festival des Montgolfières à Duluth, or Duluth Balloon Festival, which will be free and open to the public.

Joseph-Michel Montgolfier and Jacques-Étienne Montgolfier were French ballooning pioneers who are credited with the first manned balloon flight in 1783.

The French name indicates that Duluth’s burgeoning hipster class has unfurled a massive lightweight fabric, attached a large basket with a high-powered gas heater, warmed the air to inflate the balloon, clamored into the basket with a picnic lunch and a girl wearing a turtle neck sweater, lifted itself up into the sky, up, up, up and over the shark.

UPDATE: I declare a hipster truce

OK, so that’s a snide comment, but I soooooo want to be there for the balloons. If I an get a picture of an ore ship flanked by balloons I’m set for a long time. If someone else gets one, send it my way!

It’s a big year for Duluth, what with this AND the tall ships in July.

The press release:

Hot Air Balloon Festival lands in Duluth
DULUTH, MN—For the first time ever an international hot air balloon festival will land in Bayfront Festival Park on September 20-22, 2013. The Duluth Airshow is proud to announce the arrival of this new aviation event which is free and open to the public – Le Festival des Montgolfières à Duluth, a.k.a. “Duluth Balloon Festival.” Along with hot air balloons, the event will feature many education related activities including the launching of weather balloons and hands on activities for families.
Senator Roger Reinert and Mayor Don Ness are excited the Duluth Airshow and event organizers have seized an event of this caliber to join Duluth’s growing list of powerhouse events and festivals.
“I can’t wait to see the colorful fleet of hot air balloons along the Duluth waterfront. Similar to tall ships, the ‘Montgolfières’ are a sight to behold,” said Senator Reinert. “I am pleased the Duluth Airshow has been able to secure another aviation event of this caliber for our region; one that celebrates a very special form of flight.”
Mayor Ness commented, “This festival is another excellent example of the sort of events Duluth’s waterfront, and the prime location of Bayfront Festival Park, can attract. The event marks a special blend of Duluth history, joining our French and aviation heritages and bringing them together during the peak of fall colors.”
Ryan Kern, Duluth Airshow President and the lead organizer of the event, says the Duluth Balloon Festival will offer educational opportunities for attendees, in addition to the other activities and entertainment that will take place at the festival. “Flight has mystified people for generations. The Duluth Airshow is proud to bring another event to the community that features the importance of aviation to our region.”
Attendees will have a chance to view potential launches two hours after sunrise and two hours before sunset as well as take tethered balloon flights during the festival.

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