LEWISTON — Hundreds of spectators enjoyed a “moonglow” at the Great Falls Balloon Festival in Simard-Payne Memorial Park on Saturday evening.

Morning rain and evening wind grounded the scheduled launches of more than a dozen balloons Saturday, but two more are scheduled at 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. Sunday under clear skies.

On Saturday evening, a few balloons were inflated and lit while tethered to the ground just after sunset to create a “moonglow.”

Because there was no rain Saturday night, balloonists were also able to set up their baskets for “candlesticking,” igniting the fuel for a flaming candle effect.

Officials said it was too windy, even on the ground, to inflate the balloons at 6 p.m., as scheduled, because they would be whipped around too much.

Balloons from Maine, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Florida and Alabama were brought to the three-day festival that began Friday.


Freedom Flyer pilot Mark Fritze from Tallahassee, Florida, said this is his crew’s fourth year attending the festival.

Fritze said that even though they didn’t launch Saturday, they were still having a good time.

“Yesterday’s flight was great, it was nice and calm,” he said. “It’s a beautiful area.”

He said once his team discovered the event four years ago they had so much fun they had to keep coming back.

The gray sky gave a mellow atmosphere to the festival, but the music and vendors kept the party going. A bounce house and bungee jumping game for kids, food and drink vendors and the smell of freshly fried dough were part of the festival.

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