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Rapturous ascensions grace the zephyrs of Balloons & Tunes

The reservoir was the landing zone for many balloons this past weekend during the balloon launch in Kanab. An impressive display of colors against the redrock backdrop are refl ected in the Jackson Flat Reservoir. Photo by Jeremy Houston.

The three-day festival of hot-air balloon revelry, joined with foot-tappin’ tunes and warm, crisp funnel cakes became a true community spectacle, as balloons this year were found landing all over the town!

Attributed to the beautiful, clear skies during the weekend, balloon pilots were able to lift off and soar through the skies each of the three mornings of the Balloons and Tunes Roundup.

Reminiscent of the 1967 classic “champagne soul” of The 5th Dimension’s Jimmy Webb lyrics “Up, Up and Away in My Beautiful Balloon,” weightless in atmosphere aeronauts breezed lighter than air, one with the wind, during the three-day Balloons and Tunes Roundup in ideal weather conditions, as demonstrated by the hand-release of two small balloons in a ‘pieball atmospheric test’ for upper-level air pressure prior to lift-off.

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Photo by Jerry Melrose
(Above) Landing directly across from the Southern Utah News building. Photo by Jerry Melrose.

In a traditional custom dating back to the inaugural hot air balloon ascent in Paris on November 21, 1783, witnessed by United States Ambassador Benjamin Franklin, Pilot Dan Montgomery explained the First-Flight Ceremony for newly-landed aeronauts. Kneeling on the ground with hands held behind their back, initiates were provided with a cup of champagne placed in front of them, and while being sprinkled with water from the rear, would be expected to grip the cup between their teeth and down the bubbly.

(Right) Reaching the silhouette of the moon. Photo by Jeremy Houston.

Afterwards a Balloonist’s Prayer would be serenely recited:

The winds have welcomed you with softness.

The sun has blessed you with his warm hands.

You have flown so well and so high,

That God has joined you with laughter

And sets you gently back again

Into the loving arms of Mother Earth.

Our balloon guide advises, “Everyone should fly at least once in their life.”

More images below.

American-themed balloon floating near the high-school doing its best to distract the students from their studies. Photo by Kyle Erickson.

And they’re off! The balloons begin their lift off at the field of the previous Kanab Golf Course. Photo by Jerry Melrose.

Lined up and ready for lift off. Photo by Jerry Melrose.

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