The 2020 High River Heritage Inn International Balloon Festival had to deal with a lot of wind, but they were still able to enjoy some beautiful skies after a couple of successful flights.
The event ran Sept. 23-27 in High River and due to the ongoing pandemic, the Balloon Glow event, which brings thousands of people into High River was cancelled. But people still came to see the balloons in the skies as High River was visibly busier than normal during the event.
“We are happy with the way things went,” said Event Chair Jamie Kinghorn.
“We did have some nasty weather to start off with but then we had a couple of good morning flights, we had great landowners, good flying conditions and we were able to declare a champion.”
“We tried to keep it quiet but people came out to the balloon launch sites, as locals know where they are, but people were following social distancing and wearing masks and I was pleased to see that.”
The event historically holds a competition where they crown a champion and this year Dale Ritchie won flying his balloon Emily, second place went to Bill Whalen flying TIKI and third place was won by Richard Clark flying Our Treat. Contestants were judged by landing closest to a landing spot and this year Ritchie was the closest during the two flights.
Kinghorn says that 17 Canadian balloons took to the skies during the event, with hopes to get more next year from Canada and other countries. He was also able to fly his balloon.
“It was excellent and a dream come true,” said Kinghorn.
“It was over a year in the making and finally to actually be able to fly the balloon was pretty incredible.”
He also stated that they hope and expect to have the popular Glow event back for next year if COVID is dealt with and they hope to have a normal year.
“A huge thanks to everyone who makes our event possible including, the sponsors, volunteers, landowners and crew who all make it happen.”