DANSVILLE — Victory came on the last night of the New York State Festival of Balloons when the balloons finally launched over East Hill.
There was disappointment in the air as many wondered why the balloons were not launching on Aug 31 or Sept. 1.
On Aug. 31, the NYS Festival of Balloons made the call not to launch due to scattered thunderstorms in the area. On Sept. 1 the NYS Festival of Balloons made the call not to launch due to high winds. Some were disappointed, but officials said safety always comes first.
However, a couple of the pilots made the call to do tethered rides on Aug. 31. There was a very long line for tethered rides from eager festival goers. In fact it was so long that they had to be cut down. It got too late to fly the balloons.
Launch Crew Manager Brenda Robinson said that it is unusual to have two balloons willing to do tethered rides.
“Most of the time we will have tethered rides even if there is no launch,” she said. “I have never had two balloons do tethered rides before, so this is really exciting.”
Some wanted to participate in helping the pilots as part of the balloon crew. Others wanted to be part of the tethered rides.
There were about six balloons that stayed grounded, a couple being the Purple People Eater and Tweety.
Lynn Dollard, of Jamestown, told Genesee Country Express this was she and her families second time coming to the festival. It was the first time they wanted a balloon ride.
“We just came down to see the balloons go up, and we thought it was going to be a clear night,” she said. “We are very excited to do the tethered ride tonight.”
Mark Dollard, Lynn’s husband, added that at the Wellsville Balloon Rally they enjoy talking to the pilots, and being allowed on the field to see the balloons.
“Balloon Pilots are so friendly, and they all want to tell their story,” he said. “There were two sections open to the public, and we were allowed to talk to the pilots. They come from all over the country. Even though no balloons went up in Wellsville it was still cool to talk to the pilots.”
Lynn Dollard said that her son, Andy and daughter, Kelly were really looking forward to being in a balloon for the first time.
Miriam Teitsworth, of Groveland, said that her family has been flying balloons for about 40 years. She and her husband, Carroll, and three of their children, Lee, Lance, and Liana Haseltine all enjoy the family tradition.
“My daughter is taking people on tethered rides on The Majestic tonight,” she said. “My son Lee will fly the Purple People Eater. We stay close to the ground, so that if we need to we can deflate quickly.”
Robinson said she is happy about having a bigger launch crew this year, and was able to sit down with a couple pilots to hear their story.
On Sept. 1 the wind was so high that they couldn’t even do tethered rides. Robinson said that a couple pilots tried to launch in the morning, but it proved too dangerous for them. Officials did allow the crowd onto the field to talk to the pilots.
On Sept. 2 there was high concern that there would be no balloon launches at all this year, but several balloons sailed into the sky. This marked the end of the 37th Annual NYS Festival of Balloons.