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Antelope Island Festival attracts hundreds of air balloonists

By Mike Anderson | Posted - Aug. 31, 2012 at 5:15 p.m.


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KAYSVILLE — Balloonists took to the skies as they launched their hot air balloons from Ponds Park next to I-15 during the Antelope Island Stampede Festival in Kaysville Friday.

Antelope Stampede Festival is just getting under way with the hot air balloons and professional kite flyers gathering from all over the country.

The festival attracts people that appreciate a special kind of hobby.

"It's a great thing to do," said Kent Barnes, one of the many air balloon pilots. "I had a bit of a midlife crisis in 2002, and added on lighter than air to my pilot certificate."

But Barnes realizes that hot air balloons are not at all practical.

"Flying balloons is not a good way to fly to go point to point," he said.

Of course that's not why people fly, but it is the reason why some people get so excited for it.


I'm channeling both Amelia Earheart, and Nellie Bly, I guess, both two women of the air, so I wanted to pay homage because it's my first time up in a balloon.

–Justina Parsons-Bernstein.


"I'm channeling both Amelia Earheart, and Nellie Bly, I guess, both two women of the air, so I wanted to pay homage because it's my first time up in a balloon," said Justina Parsons-Bernstein.

The balloons float above the horizon for that wide open 360 degree perspective. For Barnes, that is part of the splendor of hot air balloons.

"This is where the fun is," Barnes said. "Sitting up here, nice and quiet about 7,800 feet in the air, we're going a whole .9 miles per hour."

Sometimes air balloon pilots like Barnes detour through nearby neighborhoods and attract a lot of attention.

"The whole neighborhood is all awake because of the hot air balloon," said Destry Hardy.

The balloon launch continues Saturday and Sunday at 7 a.m. at the Kaysville Ponds Park, and the Stampede Festival is open through Sunday evening.

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Mike Anderson

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