Southern Utah News Articles
New Balloon Festival Air Boss is one of Kanab's own
Kane County is excited to be joining forces with former Kanab resident, Bryan Hill, to bring a hot air balloon festival to Kanab. Hill is the Balloonmeister, or Air Boss, of the new Kanab Balloons and Tunes Roundup. Hill currently lives in Page, Arizona, where he is the general manager for the local electric utility. Hill is also the Balloonmeister for the annual balloon festivals in Page and in Panguitch, Utah.
Hill has wanted to bring a balloon festival to Kanab for a long time. “My family has been in the hotel business for years. We love the area and I’m excited to help bring a new, fun event to Kanab,” Hill said. “This area is absolutely beautiful and magical, and it will be extra magical with the colorful balloons flying with the red rock back ground.”
Hill’s family moved to Kanab in 1979, and he attended Kanab High School with the class of 1982. His family has owned a number of properties in Kanab throughout the years, and they currently own the Sun-n-Sand Motel.
After Hill graduated from college, he received his single engine and private pilot license. He has logged over 2000 hours in fixed wing aircrafts. Hill received his Lighter than Air Rating (Hot Air Balloon) in 2000. In 2005, he received his Commercial Lighter Than Air rating, and has accumulated over 800 hours in a hot air balloon.
Hill is a respected balloonist and well-networked in the community of balloon pilots. Kane County Events & Volunteer Center and Kane County Office of Tourism are pleased to work with him. “We’ve met and spoke with a number of the pilots who Bryan has invited and they say nothing but great things about him. He has been absolutely wonderful to work with,” said Vicki Hooper, Director of Kane County Events & Volunteer Center.
Hill has invited nearly 20 balloon pilots to participate this first year in Kanab. A couple of the pilots will bring more than one balloon. Hill limited the number of pilots he invited this first year so they can learn to fly Kanab and get it dialed in before he invites more pilots to come and fly the area. “Each area is unique and has a unique set of challenges. We want to learn what those are and how to deal with them,” said Hill.
“A lot more pilots are interested in coming, so we hope we can accommodate them in future years as we grow the event. Kane County and Kanab residents and businesses have been very supportive of the event and that is a key element to make these events a success,” Hill said.
When asked what his main concern was, Hill said, ““We need for the weather to cooperate with us. Good weather is a must to make a hot air balloon show happen.” Kane County is prepared if the weather is cold to accommodate the visitors during the outdoor battle of the bands on Friday and Saturday and during the street fair. “The vendor area will be lined with standing heaters and fire pits for visitors to get warm by and to add atmosphere to the event,” said Hooper. “The event will be amazing even if the balloons can’t go up for all of their planned flights,” she said.
Hill is an avid balloonist and participates in several events each year located throughout the southwest; mainly Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico. He enjoys event competitions and won first place overall in 2010 at Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.
Watch for Hill and his blue and yellow balloon pictured, called “Basket Case.”