Hot air balloons take over the skies in Page this weekend
PAGE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) — Dozens of hot air balloons are taking over the skies in Page this weekend. The annual Balloon Regatta draws people from all over the world to see the balloons and take part in this community event.
After a childhood dreaming about hot air balloons thanks to her mother, Debbie Waltman did everything she could to fly her own. “One day, a real balloon flew over our house. Then I was hooked,” Waltman said. “I was like I had to see them, I had to find them, I had to touch them.”
After that, she slowly started learning more and started working for others before she got her own. “I was crewing for a guy for a few years,” Waltman said. “One day I looked at him and I said, ‘You gotta teach me how you fly this thing.’ And he gave me a really strange look and says ‘I guess I could teach a woman.’ And I was one of the early female pilots.”
Now she flies her balloon at events all over the country. This weekend she’s one of the 65 pilots flying over Page. Lynn Cormier, Page’s director of community engagement, said this is their biggest event. “We love it because it pulls people not only from Arizona, the West Coast, but really from all over the world.”
Balloons launch around 7 in the morning and fly for about two hours. The weather is forecasted to be perfect for flying and balloon spectating with light winds. “Economically, it’s amazing for our little city here. But overall, it doesn’t matter if you’re standing there with a camera watching one balloon or 10 balloons,” Cormier said. “It’s overwhelming at times and people just love it.”
Waltman flies not only for the fun of it but to provide smiles and lifelong memories for others. “This has brought me more joy in my life than I ever anticipated, so to be able to share that with other people, especially with people who haven’t had a chance, those are the fun parts,” she said.
Festivities go through Sunday, and for those unable to make it out early in the morning, there are still a ton of hot air balloon-related events, including the Balloon Glow Saturday night. For more information about the event, you can visit their website here.
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