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High River: Balloon Glow back this year

The Heritage Inn International Balloon festival will return with a bigger show this year.
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The Heritage Inn International Balloon festival will return with a bigger show this year.

“This year we are planning a more full- blown event,” said festival president Jamie Kinghorn. “We have extended invitations to all the foreign pilots coming from the United States, United Kingdom, and Belgium.”

The 10th annual festival, which runs September 21 to 25, attracts thousands of people and this year the popular Balloon Night Glow is back.

“The balloon glow is always an amazing show,” Kinghorn said. The event has pilots lighting up their balloons and hovering over the area to provide a spectacular, kaleidoscope approach.

The launch area is at the open field located at the intersection of Highwood Trail and Macleod Trail in southwest High River.

The event draws thousands of people and as a result, spectators will be asked to walk or cycle to the glow.

Other competitions will include balloonists dropping beanbags from significant heights to targets below. Another competition will have pilots attempting to grab a pole as they launch or when the Festival isn’t hosting a championship, fun “fiesta flights” are flown using the Hare and Hounds (HNH) task for a little friendly competition.

The Hare balloon that the others chase can be recognized by launching ahead of the others as well as dangling the target outside the basket. If the Hare is spotted without the target dangling, the other pilots (Hounds) know the target has been placed on the ground already.

River City Classics’ Show ‘n Shine

The final day of the Balloonfest, September 25, is the same day of the River City Classics’ Show ‘n Shine.

“It really ties in well — there will be a lot of things happening in High River.” Kinghorn said.

For those interested in a first-hand experience, balloon rides will be available to purchase on September 6, 2022. Purchase information will be posted late in August 2022 on the website. The flight times will coincide with scheduled flights from Thursday to Sunday, September 22-25, 2022.

Kinghorn said the balloon festival is always looking for volunteers — volunteers who at times get a spirit of adventure.

“A number of our volunteers had so much fun, they went out and bought their own balloons and now licensed pilots flying out of High River,” Kinghorn said.

High River is home to a balloon launch- port in the north end of town and on nice days throughout the year, colourful balloons are seen floating over High River.

For more information about the festival go to heritageinninternationalballoonfestival.com.

Weather may be an issue as to whether the pilots will fly. Check out the festival’s Facebook page for updates. Anyone wishing to volunteer, please contact Kinghorn at [email protected]

This content was produced by our Western Wheel newsroom for Foothills Visitor & Adventure Guide and Great West Media's 2022 Hot Summer Guide.