Hot Air Balloon Festival Coming to Duluth

By KBJR News 1

April 5, 2013 Updated Apr 5, 2013 at 11:43 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - Bayfront Festival Park will soon come alive with color and plenty of hot air.

Duluth city officials and the people who bring you the Duluth Airshow unveiled a first of its kind international hot air balloon festival that'll have your eyes peeled to the sky this September.

It's called "Le Festival des Montgolfières à Duluth," a title state and city officials tried to pronounce, with a little coaching, during an impromptu French lesson at the Mayor's reception room Friday afternoon.

"I'm not going to attempt following this to say the name of the event. I would butcher it," Ryan Kern, the president of the Duluth Airshow joked.

The first of its kind event isn't just about aviation, but also about our area's French-induced history.

"Duluth was actually once part of the French territory," Kern said. "Secondly Duluth was discovered by a Frenchmen. Duluth is actually named after a Frenchman, the same gentlemen who discovered the region. "

The three-day French connection on the waterfront will give people a chance to see balloon launches two hours after sunrise and two hours before sunset.

You'll also have a chance to ride balloons as well. The only thing is, you aren't going too far. It'll be tethered.

Balloonists say launching a hot air balloon from Bayfront park won't be an easy task. They say they have to deal with winds off the lake and the surrounding terrain.

"There are challenges to flying up here, but if we have the right wind directions and the right conditions it'll be beautiful," said Steve Sennin, a balloon pilot.

What makes the event even more beautiful?

It won't cost a penny.

"We are welcoming folks from our community to come down to Bayfront to experience very unique and potentially speculator event for the city Duluth," Duluth Mayor Don Ness said.

The show runs September 20th, 21st and 22nd.

Kevin Jacobsen
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