Dozens of hot air balloons will be flying over south-central Iowa over the next 9 days and nights. Indianola has hosted the National Balloon Classic, billed as “one of the largest and longest hot air balloon events in the Midwest,” for over 40 years.
Jim Fromm, who serves on the National Balloon Classic board, says spectators will watch nearly 100 balloons decorate the sky. “We had 86 registered pilots, so around 90 or so balloons will be here,” Fromm said. This year’s event launches tonight and runs through August 6. There are evening flights combined with live music each night beginning at 6 p.m.
The morning launches are scheduled each day at 6:30 a.m., but balloons will also fill the sky even earlier in the morning on both Saturdays and next Wednesday morning.
“There’s ‘Dawn Patrol,’ which is an unusual happening with balloons. Typically, we don’t fly with any aircraft lights on, but for (dawn patrol) we do hang lights on…and launch before sunrise, in the dark,” Fromm said. “We launch and fly for an hour or two, until the sun comes up. Everytime we hit the burner, the whole balloon lights up and that is very impressive.”
Similar, “Nite Glow” events are scheduled after sunset this Sunday, next Wednesday (8/3), and next Friday (8/5). Learn more at: nationalballoonclassic.com.