The village of Marine is hosting its first annual Hot Air Balloon and Sport Aviation Exhibition on Friday, Sept. 25 and Saturday, Sept. 26 at the park in the middle of the town.
Along with hot air balloons, the free event will feature a variety of flying machine exhibits and kid-friendly activities.
The exhibition will include gliders from the local glider clubs, a hang glider, ejections seats, sky diving, para gliding, RC planes, UAV drones, gyro-copters, one-seat helicopter, an ultra-light airplane, a powered parachute, competition-class rubber band powered airplanes, model rockets and more. The ARCH helicopter may even make an appearance late morning on Saturday.
“No other hot air balloon festival features such a variety of exhibits and activities for kids of all ages. Grownups may have more fun than the kids,” said event coordinator Rae Lynne Meyer.
The sport aviation exhibits are planned to be on display in the park on Saturday from about 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. The hot air balloons plan to fly Friday evening about 4:30, Saturday about 7 a.m. and 4:40 p.m., and Sunday about 7 a.m. (Sunday, Sept. 27 will also serve as the rain date for the festival.)
Some of the events planned for children to participate include classes on making and flying paper airplanes and balsa wood gliders, along with a contest to see who can get theirs to fly the longest and the farthest. Volunteers will be on hand with paper, balsa wood planes, kites and instructions for flying them.
“We want to get the kids off the computer, out of the house and learning and doing new things,” said Bill Weder, a pilot in the area for 39 years, who is coordinator of aviation exhibits.
Another activity for families will be kite flying on Saturday at the Lions Park, 406 East Division St., and the nearby Fireman’s Park. Anyone can bring their own or purchase a kite at the event.
Friday and Saturday evening, young people can get their first glimpse of the rising full moon though a telescope and learn how to watch for satellites passing overhead.
Also planned Friday evening is an outdoor showing of the animated movie Planes. Live music will begin Friday evening with Paul Jarvis appearing as Willie Nelson. The Friday evening balloon launch is planned for around 5:30 p.m.
Music on Saturday begins at 12:30 p.m., with Steve Brandes performing a tribute to Elvis Presley. Then at 3 p.m., Bill Forness will take the stage with his tribute to Johnny Cash. A bluegrass jam session will take place on Saturday evening during the Balloon Glow. Anyone can bring an instrument and sit in.
An event for the community
The event was the result of the Marine Historical Society wanting to bring more awareness to the historic village of Marine.
“Since the event is free to the public, we hope to see a lot of people participating in the raffles and enjoying food and refreshments from the local organizations, business and restaurants,” Meyer said.
Any profits generated will go to the Marine Grade School and the village of Marine. Pre-orders of a DVD of the event will be available for sale.
The event can be followed on Facebook as “Hot Air Balloons Over Marine.”
Sponsors are needed to help with the costs of the event and anyone interested in volunteering to help with the many activities may contact Weder at (618) 530-5809 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Meyer at email@example.com. Volunteer sign-up the sheets are also located at Marine Coin Co., 155 North Duncan St. in Marine.