Hot air balloon spectacular lights up the sky in Cave Creek this weekend


by Tami Hoey

Video report by Heidi Goitia

Posted on January 3, 2014 at 11:26 AM

Updated Monday, Jan 6 at 9:55 AM

CAVE CREEK, Ariz. -- Turn your eyes to the North Valley skies this weekend for the magical sight of a hot air balloon spectacular.

The 5th annual Cave Creek Balloon Festival takes place Saturday, Jan. 4, from 3:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Rancho Mañana Golf Course near the Loop 101 and Pima Road.

Sanderson Lincoln & Ford, Tonto Bar & Grill, Aerial Solutions, and Valerie’s Fine Furniture are teaming up to sponsor this year's event. Visitors can enjoy live music, good eats from local food trucks, and of course, a spectacular hot air balloon show in the sky.

Rancho Mañana's driving range will become a magical field of glowing splendor at 6:00 p.m. when brightly colored and whimsically shaped balloons – including the new “Bud E. Beaver” balloon – come to life. At about 8:30 p.m., the excitement continues as the flying Arizona Skyhawks descend from 7,500 feet with special suits outfitted with pyrotechnics.

On Friday's Good Morning Arizona, we talked to one of the balloon's pilots to get an explanation of how the balloon magic happens.

"These basically work off of heat," explained balloon pilot Michael Glen. "You add heat and it makes them go up, and you let the heat cool off and it comes down. But we have to add enough heat to keep the balloon up plus lift ourselves up. So normally when I fly the top of the balloon is running about 200 degrees."

Glen grew up flying in balloons. As a paraplegic, he's the only pilot in the world who is in a wheelchair. He says he uses his challenges to send a message to kids out there about overcoming obstacles and reaching your dreams.

"The very first time I applied for my license, they denied me because of my disability, They said I couldn't fly balloons," says Glen."And I went out and proved to them I could, because too many people tell people the word 'can't' whenever we really could achieve our dreams as long as we believe in it and do everything we can to pursue it."

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