Hot Air Balloon Fiesta
Clear sign Winter Carnival is here
Hot Air Balloons gliding over the skies is a sure sign that the Vernon Winter Carnival has arrived.
A flick of the wrist, a brilliant swoosh of flame and the first giant Hot Air Balloon lifts slowly into the clear February skies over Vernon. Minutes later more of the brightly coloured balloons rise into the air. From almost any vantage point in the valley, the balloons are visible as they drift, dancing in the changing wind currents.
For over two decades the giant balloons have announced the opening weekend of the annual Vernon Winter Carnival, from the Friday evening Balloon Glow, through Sunday morning Flag Grab. Residents and visitors flock to the site of the Balloon Glow, where they can get a close look at the giant balloons which glow in the darkness as the flames from the burners keep the balloons inflated. This is a great family event!
For the pilots, the weekend is one of friendly competition. On Friday and Saturday they participate in Hare and Hound chases. The first balloon, "the hare", makes use of a ten minute start to find a suitable site to locate a target. The rest of the pilots, "the hounds", use their skills to track "the hare", and drop markers as close the the target as possible. It sounds easy, but wind shifts and altitude can make it a difficult event for the most skilled pilot.
Sunday's duck drop requires the pilots to employ strategy, skill and experience as they attempt to guide the giant balloons over a inflated swimming pool, positioned on the ice in the middle of Swan Lake to drop a rubber ducky. Pilots can launch from anywehre around the lake with crews carefully watching the winds in order to choose the best launch site. Once airborne they must find the right combinations of wind and direction to fly close enough to drop their duck. If the basket touches the ice within 500 feet of the pool, the pilot forfeits the prize. Weather can be a strong deterrent and all flights are weather dependant.
Come experience the fun and excitement of watching these magnificent balloons during the opening weekend as we celebrate the Balloon Fiesta!
The balloons will fly Friday February 1st - Sunday February 3rd at different times throughout the day, weather dependant.
Friday February 1st, 2013
Location: Polson Park
Thank you to our event sponsors!