Ammon’s first hot air balloon rally is cleared to take off

AMMON, Idaho (KIFI) – Perhaps an unusual sight in the early hours of a Sunday morning, McCowin Park was filled with cheering spectators, for many it was a chance to see a hot air balloon take off for the first time. The balloons were cleared for take off around 7 a.m. Sunday morning.

Shelley Miner was one of the many balloon enthusiasts who saw balloons take off for the first time.

“We actually also came on Saturday night and watched them do the glow with the fire. And that really sparked our interest. And we said we wanted to see them take off this morning. And that’s something I I’ve never actually seen it in person. And so I thought it would be really fun.

She says as she watched the balloons take off from the ground, one of them passed right over their heads.

“I think actually seeing them really take off was really awesome. And one of them, just as we were standing here in the grass, we were wondering if we should move, but they said no and it went right over our heads. . And that was really cool because we looked up and felt like we could hit rock bottom.”

Amy Mitchell was one of those lucky passengers, who had many unique opportunities to ride a hot air balloon. She says seeing her city of Ammon from a new perspective was amazing.

“See, people take drone footage all the time, but that’s another thing in person. The cameras just can’t, just can’t get it.”

She says the flight itself was a completely different experience than she expected.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty about where you’re going to land and everything. So kind of like him (the pilot) was helping us focus on certain areas like that. It looks like a good place. looks like a good place. It’s kind of like you’re going up and you don’t know what’s going to happen, but you deal with it.”

Amy’s balloon pilot was Ryan Cooke, a newer balloon pilot in the area, to him he’s just happy to have been asked to be part of the new rally.

“We are invited to fly in this beginning of a balloon festival which we call our baby festival. The town of Ammon wanted to sing something fun. For everyone who lives here. And we were more than happy to oblige. We love to travel. We love flying and getting much better than flying in small communities.”

Cooke says part of the reason he enjoys flying balloons is the joy it brings to people.

“I think everyone is having a great time and I love sharing it. I mean, it makes us so happy. Why wouldn’t I want to share this thing? It’s just this great adventure, and it brings a lot of joy to a lot of people, including me. And that’s probably the best reason to get up at five in the morning and we do it as often as we can.

Jennifer Horrocks was one of the organizers of the hot air balloon rally. She helped round up the crews, for the balloons. For her, seeing him come closer to her home was exciting.

“I’ve been around hot air balloons all my life and it was nice to see it here in Ammon. So there’s a hot air balloon gathering in Driggs every year for the 4th of July weekend, but Ammon n never had one before. So it’s exciting to see it here in this community with my friends and neighbors excited to see the balloons here.”

She says it’s something they all hope will continue for years to come.

“We’re really excited that Ammon, you know, put a lot of faith in this event. And obviously there was a really good turnout and people are really excited about it. So we’re excited to have it happen again. because it was the very first.”