Fourth annual 'Balloons Over Mt. Vernon' set for Oct. 15 - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Fourth annual 'Balloons Over Mt. Vernon' set for Oct. 15

(Source: KFVS) (Source: KFVS)
At 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, there will be a ceremony honoring Vietnam Veterans. (Source: Mt Vernon Airport) At 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, there will be a ceremony honoring Vietnam Veterans. (Source: Mt Vernon Airport)
MT. VERNON, IL (KFVS) -

A local festival is celebrating one of the oldest forms of aviation this weekend.

The 2016 ‘Balloons over Mt. Vernon’ marked the event’s fourth year, ushering in hundreds of spectators, 11 professional balloon teams, Vietnam era U.S. Military vehicles and veterans, and a pancake breakfast.

And who doesn’t love pancakes?

The main attraction on Friday was the first ‘Balloon Glow’ of the event.

All 11 balloons flashed brilliantly as three-to-eight foot flames erupted from their propane-driven motors.

Until around 10 p.m., one balloon was offering tethered rides to a line of spectators gathered at the airport in Mt. Vernon.

That balloon was tied down to a handful of pickup trucks to make sure riders wouldn't sail off in the wind.

“It's not a good source of transportation… definitely just for fun” explained Midwest Balloon Rides pilot Tony Sandlin “All I can control is up and down, the rest is done with ropes and people on the ground."

Midwest boasts four hot air balloons, and is commissioned to travel the country showing them off, like many of the teams in attendance on Friday.

Sandlin started as a crew member in 1989, after answering a local newspaper’s ad for fun.

“I got paid in free rides and food at first, but I didn’t care, because I loved it.” Sandlin said.

Sandlin now has his own paid crew, who will presumably be paid a bonus in pancakes on Saturday morning.

The pancake breakfast is on Saturday, from 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

For a full schedule of the events, click here.

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