COSHOCTON, Ohio â€“ Itâ€™s been a tradition in Coshocton since 1981, and Thursday the Coshocton Hot Air Balloon Festival kicked off at the county fair grounds.
This will be the first time in the eventâ€™s 35-year history that tethered air balloon rides will be offered. For $20 guests 14-years-old and older can ride a tethered balloon 80 feet into the air. Ken Cramer has been flying balloons for 25 years and says there is no experience like it.
â€œThereâ€™s something magical about balloons,â€ said Cramer. â€œIâ€™m not sure exactly how to describe it, except that it amazes me that when you are flying over a community, people will hear the burners, and come roaring out of their houses. Dogs are barking. Kids are yelling. Everybody is waving at you and when you wave down everybody thinks youâ€™re waving at them.â€
Cramer says that the balloons can reach altitudes of 16,999 feet before you hit controlled air space. In addition to tethered balloon rides, there are midway rides and fair-style food, and of course the completive air balloon competitions.
â€œThe idea is for the pilot to take off. To be able to maneuver their balloon as close as they can to a target which is a 50-foot â€˜Xâ€™ thatâ€™s on the ground,â€ said Cramer. “They get as close to the center of that target and drop a weighted bag. It has a six-foot nylon streamer on it. And the idea is to try to get it as close as you can to the center of the target.â€
The festival runs from through the rest of the weekend. Admission and parking are free.