A cloud of hot air balloons will once again be flying over Madras with a balloon rally planned for May 16-18, launching from the county fairgrounds.

Charitie Gamble, the liaison for the balloon pilots, is helping to organize the event. Since 2008, she befriended and has remained in contact with several of the pilots from when she was the liaison for balloon flights for past Chamber of Commerce Collage of Culture events.

“They haven’t been here for two years and wanted to have a rally in Jefferson County in May,” she said. “We have 12 balloons confirmed now, and there may be more.

That weekend is also the Kids Club Carnival and Gamble said the pilots would like to be a part of it by giving ballooning demonstrations to the kids.

Currently, she is looking for people to help crew the balloons when they launch and land. Duties include unloading and helping to roll out the balloon silk (usually at 5:30 a.m.), riding in a chase car to follow the balloon during its flight, then helping roll up the silk and pack the balloon basket out of the field where it lands to a waiting truck. Three or four people usually make up a crew.

Sponsors are also being sought for each balloon, and sponsors in the past have received a free ride. Of course, everything is based on the cooperation of the weather on those days.

To crew or be a sponsor, contact Gamble at 541-475-7640, Monday through Friday.

Contract Publishing

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