From the community

Presque Isle prepares for 10th Crown of Maine Balloon Fest

Posted Aug. 20, 2013, at 9:56 a.m.
Last modified Sept. 28, 2013, at 1:46 p.m.

Celebrating 10 Years & A Proud History of Ballooning

For the past decade, the Crown of Maine Balloon Fest has been bringing color to the sky and visitors to the region.

The festival was born as part of the 2004 Isle Fest, when local pilot Dena Winslow and pilot Bill Whelan from Ontario convinced the then Presque Isle Area Chamber of Commerce to give it a try. In addition to Dena and Bill, Doug Shippee from New Brunswick flew that first year.

Isle Fest 2005 saw the expansion to five balloons, and in 2006 the number of balloons rose to nine and Isle Fest was re-dubbed the Crown of Maine Balloon Fest.

Since then the festival has continued to grow and has seen some of the best flying around. Pilots Wendell Purvis and Joel Jones claim that The County is one of their favorite places to fly due to the beautiful landscapes and friendly folks. We tend to agree and we hope that in 2013 you’ll join our pilots as they paint the sky for the tenth year.

This year’s festival features 10 pilots in traditional hot air balloons, as well as a handful flying smaller “cloud hoppers.”

Aroostook County also holds a place in ballooning history as the home to two famous Transatlantic Balloon Flights. In 1978, the Double Eagle II launched from Presque Isle and made the first successful crossing of the Atlantic. In 1984, Joe Kittinger became the first person to make the solo Transatlantic balloon journey, he launched from Caribou. That tradition continues this summer as Jonathan Trappe, a “cluster balloonist” tries to launch his trans-Atlantic balloon flight using 365 individual helium balloons.

You can be a part of this exciting history in the region. Join us at the Fairgrounds on Mechanic Street in Presque Isle for the balloon launches, balloon glows, musical entertainment, youth activities and so much more. And be sure to catch all of the other activities taking place in Presque Isle surrounding the festival: the Street Fair, Paint Aroostook, a Color Run for Wintergreen Arts Center and a 5K Road Race for Aroostook Teen Leadership Camp. Read all about the many activities taking place on August 22 -25 in the pages of this guide to the Crown of Maine Balloon Fest.

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