After six balloon festivals and more than a few failed attempts at Balloon Flight during the festivals, the question in many minds’ is, “Why do they keep holding the Balloon Festival in Jan. if the weather doesn’t usually cooperate?”
There is a very good explanation for why they do. The average Hot Air Balloon costs about $40,000 at the lower end and up to about $200,000 on the higher end. Prices range due to size, decoration and difficulty of the creation of the canopy (the actual “Balloon” portion of the aircraft).
For the balloon to rise, the inside balloon temperature must be a minimum of 100 degrees hotter than the outside air temperature. For instance, if it is 50 degrees outside the inside temperature has to begin at 150 degrees to get any lift at all. Basket, burner and passenger weight are also taken into consideration and the increased weight also increases the temperature that must be maintained inside the balloon to make it fly. Temperatures cannot exceed 250 degrees without damaging the canopy and putting the pilot’s and passenger’s lives in danger, not to mention it would destroy a very expensive piece of equipment.
Because of the temperature requirements, festivals quite obviously cannot be held in the summer time and aren’t. Festivals are traditionally held between the months of Oct. and May because the temperatures are cooler in most places around the world and the pilots travel all over the world for the festivals.
Some of the pilots that attended the Balloon Festival here in Mesquite last weekend packed up their aircrafts and sent them on to Thailand and from that festival onto New Zealand.
The balloon pilots that come here to Mesquite come from as far as Montana, California and they’re coming from further away each year as the festival and its number of participants continues to grow, they come from one festival and go on to the next; festivals are usually scheduled a year in advance.
“Festival dates are generally chosen according to the Almanac, but nobody can predict the weather even a week out let alone a whole year. We’re disappointed but we do understand better than the average man or woman attending the event.” said “Lovebird” pilot Maria Chieruzzi. “There are so many factors to consider when flying a balloon, remember there’s no landing gear and no steering wheel, conditions have to be optimal for the safety of everyone. We’re just thrilled to be here and able to share our passion with others.” Chieruzzi spent her life savings on purchasing her own hot air balloon, becoming a pilot and traveling. She’s been flying for 9 years now and is as happy as she can be living her dream.
Folks may not have had the chance to see these spectacular globes of vivid color slashed across the Mesquite skies this year but several of the pilots came out to give the crowd a brilliant light display during the night glow on Saturday night. The lovebirds were amazing perched 60 ft. in the air, spanning 75 ft. across and weighing in at a whopping 290 lbs. You couldn’t miss the yellow and blue heart-shaped lovebirds when Chieruzzi hit the burner and lit up the night sky with their love.
Another big hit during the festival was the Popovich Comedy Pet Theatre, birds, cats, rats and dogs entertained two full houses in the Casablanca Showroom. Gregory Popovich has a humorous and fun group of animals that performed a variety of amazing tricks all set to a very entertaining story. Tickets to the show generally run $30 anywhere in Vegas but Mesquite Gaming brought all this fun to Mesquite Residents for free.
For more information on the many entertaining events happening with Mesquite Gaming, log onto their web site at www.casablanceresort.com/entertainment/.