DANSVILLE — The Dansville Balloon Glow has been a highlight of the New York State Festival of Balloons for decades.
On Aug. 30 Brae Burn was filled with spectators and balloonists as the sky was filled with that magical glow.
There were seven balloon pilots who took part in the famous Dansville Balloon Glow this year.
Cartoon Hot Air Balloons Owner and Pilot John Cavin said he has been doing this nearly four decades.
“I just got a new hot air balloon this year,” he said. “We are going to have Rocky at the NYS Festival of Balloons.”
Of course long-time favorites Tweety and Purple People Eater made an appearance at the glow and festival.
Balloon Pilot Tom Steibock of Kentucky enjoys being at the balloon glow. Although he works as part of the Cartoon Hot Air Balloons team, Steibock owns three of his own balloons.
Steibock said that the team just came from an International Hot Air Balloon Festival in Taiwan.
“I think this show is better than the one we just had in Taiwan,” he said. “Dansville is our favorite place to come in New York. It is always a family-fun event.”
Balloon Pilot Keith Sproul of New Jersey brought Pandy the Panda for the first time at the festival.
“They (NYS Festival of Balloons) asked me to bring him, since it is something different this year,” he said. “He is easy to fly, but has a bigger body than a normal balloon. I need about 20 people to help me with him.”
Sproul was very grateful to the Dansville Swim Team for coming down to help him with Pandy at the glow.
“These are friendly and easy-going people all around,” he said. “They are great people here. I know most of the pilots from other festivals as well.”
Beth Davidson of Canton, OH started being a pilot in 1978. She has been coming to the Dansville Balloon Festival for 36 years. She flies Zig Zag.
“I have been with the same host family the whole time I have been coming here. I started with Richard Gillard and now I am staying with their daughter, Bridget Quibell,” she said. “I love flying in this area. It is a beautiful area to fly in, and there are wonderful people here. This town makes us feel so welcome.”
Davidson said the Dansville Balloon Festival remains her favorite festival that she looks forward to every year.
“I love coming here every year for the festival,” she said. “You never know where you are going to land, and what amazing people you are going to meet. It is always an adventure.”
Davidson said that the Dansville community has always been so good to her and the other pilots.
“They let people into their homes every year, and they became great friends,” she said. “I have come here to visit my host family when there is no festival. They are like family to me. They give you a special kind of warmth you don’t get at other festivals.”