The display of the Night “Glow” stunned many into amazement during the weekend of January 28-30th. (Photo: Jason Andrus)

Mesquite, NV –

Floating effortlessly in a sea of blue above a pink castle surrounded by an ocean of red sand. This is no fantasy novel but the very real backdrop of the 10th Annual Mesquite Hot Air Balloon Festival. The event occurred from January 28th until January 30th. The event is sponsored by Mesquite Gaming and held at the Oasis Resort Parking Lot across from the CasaBlanca Resort and Casino, located at 950 W Mesquite Blvd. Even though the event had a rough start as the AM Launch scheduled for Friday, January 28th at 7:30 pm was literally “blowing in the wind” as the big awaited start of the festival was canceled. Many onlookers, Mesquite residents, tourists, and more were “bummed” beyond remedy, but the remedy would come at the night launch for the Night Glow and Candlestick Show as the happened, delayed but still took place.

People heard of the event happening on social media and through Virgin River Times’ updates and a massive trek to the Oasis lot took place as people found beauty, vitality, and life again with the stunning display of illusions and artistic brilliance. Each child was enraptured by the nighttime “Glow.” The skies above Mesquite and Bunkerville were filled with balloons that carried names like Desert Drifter, Kerry Gold, Czech it Out, Spilt Paint, Soar with Eagles, Basket Case, and Lokopelli.  The “Glow” is the night show on Friday and Saturday, which took place where the Pilots have their baskets set up while they jettison fire from the burners at the direction of the Mesquite Hot Air Balloon Festival’s “Balloon Meister” Bryan Hill. The “Balloon Meister” is the person who coordinates and plans all the events and what the event entails for the festival or event taking place. This person is the main person, the Big Kahuna, the Head Honcho, you could even say the “Big Balloon.”

Balloons filled the sky throughout the weekend in Mesquite. (Photo: Jason Andrus)

The Night Glow was a fantastic way to meet and speak with the pilots, collect Hot Air Balloon trading cards, learn more about hot air balloons, and even get to touch the baskets and equipment, and more in the en-“light”-ened evening air.

Teresa Miller of Doodlems Photography stated after Friday Night’s “Glow” Show, “I’m really looking forward to tomorrow. Keeping my fingers crossed the wind behaves and gives them the chance to launch in the morning.”

Saturday, the AM Launch saw the wind not behaving at first but after an hour, the balloons were able to lift off at approximately 8:30 am. The wind than would behave for the rest of the weekend, the last two launches to happen and fill the sky with the extravagant and exhilarating array of colors, patterns, circus characters and animals, Humpty Dumpty, and even a Wyoming Cowboy.

“Hot Air Balloons are like drugs, the first ride is free but the next one costs you $50,000,” joked the pilot of Czech it Out as he described the financial cost of the pilot’s hobby. “Ballooning is not cheap.”

Both Saturday Night “Glow” and Sunday Morning AM Launch occurred at the scheduled times. This year was one of the best results in attendance and weather as the weather in recent years has been uncooperative for the Festival and flying of the balloons.

The wind weather was for the festival was on Friday averaging 9-11 mph with early gusts up to 24 mph, thus why the AM Launch was cancelled. Saturday the wind slowed down to 5-9 mph with gusts up to 15 mph and Sunday was even better with 5-9 mph and gusts only up to 12 mph. The temperature was a low 24 degrees with a high of 60 degrees during the weekend.

People got to learn more and witness a spectacle of lights and colors at the Night Glow and Candlestick Show every night during the festival. (Photo: Colt Jenkins)

Want to get even closer to the hot air balloons the festival accepts volunteers but to do so you must go to the Mesquite Gaming website at http://www.mesquitegaming.com. Volunteers are always needed every year and even some balloon pilots need some help with set-up and technical crew duties.

Jeanne Bjorngaard described volunteering as “…it’s a lot of fun and a lot of work but it’s worth it.”

If you feel “deflated” because you missed this year’s festival, then head down to Sand Hollow Resort in Hurricane, Utah tomorrow as they are doing their annual SkyFest starting at 7:00 am. The location is  5662 W. Clubhouse Dr. at the Golf Course Clubhouse. To buy tickets for SkyFest, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/skyfest-morning-launch-tickets-247284934897. 

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