Scaled down balloon festival slated

Hot air balloons are inflated to participate in the balloon glow at Salina’s annual Eyes to the Sky Balloon Festival in these archive photos taken at the event, June 2019.

SALINA – After weeks of uncertainty as to whether or not Salina’s Eyes to the Sky Balloon Festival would take place, a decision was made by the festival committee to move forward with the annual event, May 13. However, the festival will not be the large event of years past due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The event has been modified to be in compliance with health department edicts. Thus, a scaled down version of the festival is slated for Saturday, June 20, and Sunday, June 21, with a modified balloon glow Saturday evening at the North Sevier Middle School. 

“Pilots will fly their balloons both Saturday and Sunday mornings,” said Newell Hales, committee member. “All spectators who enjoy watching the balloons take off are invited to visit the launch site and view the launch from their vehicles.”

The balloon glow will have balloons staged in different areas to allow for a one-way drive by viewing, which will allow for the recommended social distancing required by state and local health department officials, according to Hales. 

The balloon launches and glow will be the only activities this year. Concerts, vendor booths, FMX show and the carnival will not be part of the festival this year. 

“We are extremely saddened by the turn of events this year,” Hales said. “We are hopeful as we continue preparations for next year’s festival.” 

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