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Friday, June 19, 2009 4:18:12 PM - Monroe Ohio

The photo is of the Little Bees – Lily and Joey – each 110’ tall and 110 feet wide. The special shape balloons will fly together and glow together in the after-dark balloon glow events.

by Ann Mort

The mornings of Saturday, July 18, and Sunday, July 19, will be even more inviting than the usual morning flights during the MidFirst Ohio Challenge Hot Air Balloon Festival this year.

As balloon enthusiasts know, the morning flights are very peaceful times and a totally different experience than the evening fanfare launches from the park.

Morning competition flights will launch from a distant location and attempt to “steer the unsteerable big bags of hot air” by catching wind currents going the right direction to reach target points on the festival grounds at Smith Park/Middletown Regional Airport.  Once the balloon pilots reach a point as near the 30 foot targets as possible, they drop 3-ounce bags of beans with their basket number printed on each bag to compete in the event.  He or she who drops a baggie the closest to the target throughout the competition will earn the 2009 Championship trophy and a cash prize.

The two special shape balloons in this year’s event—Lily and Joey, the Little Bees – will be appearing in those morning flights.

Between the hours of 6:45 am and 9 am, tethered balloon rides will be available on site for $10 per adult, $5 each child. (Tethered rides are also available during the evenings.)  As with all hot air balloon flights, weather plays an important part.

On Saturday morning, from 7 to 11 am, Chris Cakes will bring a most unusual pancake breakfast to Smith Park.  Master of the flying flapjacks, the pancake chef will zing a pancake your way which you are challenged to catch with your plate.  If you miss, there will be another and another until you get it just right. Kids of all ages enjoy the fun of the $5 all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast made even more exciting by watching the balloons sail by and compete.
Making the morning flights even better – parking and admission will be free from 6-11 am both Saturday and Sunday.

The 7th annual MidFirst Ohio Challenge festival, in downtown Middletown will run 4-10 pm on Friday and Saturday, July 17 and 18. The event includes not only 37 hot air balloons, but skydivers, foods, arts & crafts, live music concerts, a car show, carnival, a mobile paint ball arena and much more.
Parking admission is via the airport entrance near 1800 Germantown Road.  An evening $5 parking fee also admits all occupants of the vehicle.  Those who choose to walk in pay $2 for adults. Children with adults are free.

For more information visit the website, email or phone 513-705-1770.

  Primary Sponsor
           MidFirst Credit Union
            Sponsoring Team        
            Fastrax Skydivers           
Platinum +
Middletown Community Foundation
AT&T Real Yellow Pages
Chamber of Commerce serving
Middletown, Monroe, Trenton
Middletown Convention and Visitors Bureau
City of Middletown
Start Fastrax
JPMorgan Chase/Barnitz Fund
Community Development Professionals
Digital Visuals
Middletown Journal/Cox Ohio Publishing-
Official Information Source
Dillman Foods
WPFB 910am, 105.9 fm
Atrium Medical Center
Bern’s Garden Center
Butler County Visitors Bureau
Cricket Communications
Duke Energy
Grace Baptist Church
Miami University Middletown
Otterbein Retirement Village
Al Neyer, Inc
Clark, Schaefer, Hackett & Co
Cohen Brothers
Drury Inn & Suites
Fidelity Health Care
Garden Manor
Kleingers & Associates
MillerCoors Brewery
MobilComm Communications
New York Fashions
Summit Family Physicians
Butler County Recycling & Solid Waste District
Insurance Associates
Special Thanks
Langendorf Law Firm
Middletown Regional Airport
Middletown Aviation Foundation
Broad Street Bash
Corporate Balloons
Atrium Medical Center
Bella Balloons Hot Air Balloon Co

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