Balloons illuminated from within float tethered above Simard-Payne Memorial Park in Lewiston during the Moonglow demonstration Friday night at the Great Falls Balloon Festival. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

LEWISTON — Scared?

Not really. But Terry Peck and Tina Bayne weren’t a hundred percent relaxed about the notion of taking their first balloon ride, either.

“We’re both a little nervous,” Peck said.

“I’m scared of heights,” said Bayne, who laughed nervously at the irony.

The Mechanic Falls couple won a chance to take a ride in a hot-air balloon and nervousness aside, they fully intended to go up.

“We’re definitely looking forward to it,” Bayne said. “It’s an amazing opportunity.”

Children play inside a balloon set up at the Great Falls Balloon Festival in Lewiston on Friday afternoon. Andree/Kenh Sun Journal

On the other side of Simard-Payne Memorial Park, a man named Jason was watching his 2-year-old son Logan bounce around inside a partially inflated balloon. They’d already munched on a variety of food from the booths and they were looking forward to watching some balloons lift off.

Asked if he had ever taken a balloon ride himself, Jason said, “No.”

Asked if he would consider taking a ride if the opportunity arose, he said it again and twice as emphatically.

Let’s face it. As popular as the Great Falls Balloon Festival is, there will always be people who are wary of climbing into a small basket and letting themselves be blown across the sky by fickle winds.

Paul Englehart looks at a balloon that his son, Jett Hathaway, 5, is pointing to. Englehart is on a balloon crew and said being up in a balloon can be described in one word: Bliss. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

Paul Englehart gets it, he really does. But the crew chief on the team operating the balloon Raspberry Ripple is pretty emphatic as well when he describes the joys of ballooning.

“I was asked this question just today,” he said. “What’s it like to be up in a balloon? And all I said was, it’s bliss. It is the most peaceful thing you will ever feel.”

Camryn Sullivan, 10, right, and little brother Declan, 6, pose for photos at the Great Falls Balloon Festival in Lewiston on Friday afternoon. The two came with their family from Auburn, New Hampshire. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

Ben Berube nodded vigorously in agreement. The assistant crew chief on Raspberry Ripple, he speaks in lusty tones of the ballooning experience.

“I’ve been up six or seven times. It’s fun every time,” Berube said. “Once you’re up the air, it’s beautiful. You’ll see a different world up there than you see on the ground.”

You have to admit, it sounds pretty awesome. And as it got closer to launch time, Peck and Bayne were growing visibly excited about their first ride.

Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate and at about 7 p.m., it was announced that all balloon flights were canceled for the day, just as they’d been canceled in the morning.

Englehart, for one, was not completely deflated by the news.

“The balloon festival is one of the best things to happen to the Lewiston-Auburn area,” he said. “Look at everybody down here. Everybody’s having a good time. We’re going to have so much fun this weekend, it’s just awesome.”

Balloons are spread out on the field Friday at Simard-Payne Memorial Park in Lewiston, but they never lifted off as strong winds in the evening and morning rain canceled both launches. Organizers said they will try again at 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and many pilots have already agreed to stay until Monday morning. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

Crowds wait patiently around deflated balloons at the Great Falls Balloon Festival in Lewiston on Friday afternoon. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

Charlie Lopresti, Channel 13’s meteorologist, gives a remote weather report from the Great Falls Balloon Festival in Lewiston on Friday afternoon in front a green screen, a device used to display the weather map digitally. The winds did not allow for the balloons to go up for either launch on Friday. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal


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