Hot air balloons set to launch this weekend

Linda Gallagher, Contributing Writer

Review file photo

An earlier “Balloons over Bellaire” event had many looking to the skies, including at this launch of 18 balloons, cruising from Alden over Torch Lake.


BELLAIRE – Gorgeous late summer sunsets over Antrim County's Lake Bellaire won't be the only thing to admire this weekend. Also worth admiring will be the 16 hot air balloons, which will once again fly over the slopes of Shanty Creek Resorts and the Chain of Lakes on Friday, Saturday and early Sunday, Aug. 23-25.

During the sixth year of the increasingly popular “Balloons Over Bellaire” event, which will begin (weather permitting) Friday evening at 6 p.m., hot air balloons from throughout the country and their crews will rise from the resort's Summit Mountain and fill the skies with color as they soar over the Chain of Lakes before returning to the lodge for the night.

Three more flights (again, with proper weather conditions), will take place on Saturday at 7:30 a.m. from an as yet undetermined site at the south end of Torch Lake, from 6-8 p.m. from the Resort, and again on Sunday morning from the Resort at 7:30 a.m.

"We're going to try to fly over Torch Lake on Saturday morning," said Phil Glebe, owner of Sarducci's Restaurant, The Shanty Bar, and organizer of the event. "The lakes are just stunning from the air. The scenery is just incredible."

With the balloons totally dependent on wind direction, the village of Mancelona may also get a look at them, as they did several years ago when balloon pilots encountered strong winds out of the west.

"We've got a good group of people, some of which came all the way from Arizona, with 16 balloons this year, and I'm excited to have everyone here," continued Glebe. "We've had great weather every year except last year, but the forecast is perfect for this weekend, so we're really looking forward to this."

Among those flying will be the Dockside's Gordy Schafer, who with Glebe was one of the original organizers of the event.

Observers are encouraged to bring cameras to the launch events, which are free and open to the public.

Balloons Over Bellaire is sponsored by Alden State Bank, Short's Brewing Company, The Dockside, Shanty Creek Resorts, Sarducci's, The Shanty Bar, and Ellsworth Farmer's Exchange.

For more information, visit the event's Facebook page.


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Bellaire, MI 49615
Phone: 231-533-5651
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4470 S. M-88 Hwy.
Bellaire, MI 49615

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