Southern Utah News Articles
Balloons & Tunes Roundup has record turnout!
While the weather didn’t cooperate in the beginning of the fourth annual Balloons & Tunes Roundup on Friday, it just plain old showed off on Saturday!
It was a glorious day with little wind, good temperatures and an enormous crowd in attendance to watch the balloons launch. The old Coral Cliffs Golf Course was the launching stage for the many balloons, crews and hundreds of people in attendance. Forty-seven colorful hot air balloons lifted off into the beautiful blue sky with the dramatic vermillion cliffs as background.
Balloonmeister Bryan Hill, of Page, Arizona, has had a long history of setting up successful ballooning events such as this. He is deeply-respected in the ballooning community, and has won events such as the enormous Albuquerque, NM hot air balloon competition.
“I’ve never been to one of these before,” said Debbie Collins, Salt Lake City. “We got here early and slept in the car to be able to watch them take off. It’s awesome.”
“We were here yesterday,” said Thomas Hanson, Durango, Colo. “I’m thrilled they could go up today! This is a great event in such a beautiful setting.”
“This is my second time attending this event,” said balloon pilot Andrea Schramek, Henderson, Nev. Her balloon ‘Girl Rising’ was one of the larger ones at the event. “I love Kanab. They are so great to us.”
Schramek said of the cancelled Friday event,“ I’d rather be on the ground wishing I was in the air, than in the air wishing I was on the ground!”
One of Schramek’s passengers, Hilda Crutchfield, of Kanab, was happy to be going up since she was grounded by weather last year. “It was exciting getting up in the air and seeing all the beautiful balloons, and the best part was we had a perfect landing,” said Crutchfield.
“The event has really grown,” commented Kanab resident Royce Gillespie, who was attending the event with wife Debbie. “I can’t believe all the people. It’s just so beautiful with the red rocks.”
Dave and Lauren Ball, of Cherry Valley, Calif., are both pilots, but brought only one balloon – ‘Gypsy Spirit’. “I got into it when we were dating,” said Lauren. “We love it here in Kanab. We also enjoy the great community of pilots who attend these events.”
Tom and Kelli Keller, La Quinta, Calif., have been in the balloon business for over 20 years. They recently retired from their commercial business, ‘Have Fun Hot Air Balloons.’ But that won’t be the end of either pilots’ participation in balloon piloting. “I’m doing competitions now,” said an enthusiastic Kelli.
Speaking of having fun, the Battle of the Bands also was a fun event.
“I think Battle of the Bands went great! It has encouraged the people who were lucky enough to attend to start exercising their musical talents and strive to be a part of it. Everyone who attended seemed to be having a great time - participants, audience, and the judges!” said Brady Franklin, Battle of the Bands judge.
The winners of Battle of the Bands were:
First place - Lost in Bourbon
Second place - Vinyl Fusion
Third place - The Mystic
For the first time ever there was a tie for third place, so The Mystic and Outside of Society had to battle it out to break the tie! They each got to play their two best songs and the audience got to decide. The judges measured the crowd noise on a sound meter.
From the Events and Volunteer Center: “We had so many people in attendance at Balloons and Tunes this year. It was definitely the largest crowd we have ever had. We felt it was a huge success. We couldn’t make this event happen without the sponsors, volunteers, bands, judges, vendors and especially the pilots. We are fortunate to have so many wonderful pilots come to Kanab and support the event. We couldn’t do it without them! Thank you to everyone who helped make Balloons and Tunes a success!”
The crowning event of Saturday’s activities was the night-time Balloon Glow. The inflated hot air balloons were lined up on Center Street with the pilots lighting them up intermittently, creating an almost magical atmosphere.
After the Balloon Glow, people checked out the vendors with art, crafts and food on North Main Street.
The Lantern Launch capped off the day, with hundreds of lanterns flying into the night sky.