On Thursday night Lovelock took on the vibe of a European city as people gathered on Main Street. They came for a preview of the sixteenth annual Lover’s Aloft Balloon Festival, due to begin the next morning. Friends shared hot chocolate at Temptations, the host of the event.
Adrian Valtierra, April Hernandez and Jennifer Anderson purchased helium balloons to release from the courthouse steps. They’d supposedly carry messages to departed loved ones. However, the main attraction was on the ground.
Jason Drake helped Zoe Swenson set up “Imagine.”
“She’s the pilot. I’m just the muscle,” he said. The couple is getting married soon after the festival. They lined up with Kevin Palmer (Pastime), AJ Anderson (Pixidelic), Ryan Evans (Aphrodite) and Robbie Burns (Wolf Spirit).
“Zoe, her mom and fiancee are one heck of a balloon team,” said the Balloon Meister, Pat Irwin.
A crew inflated a balloon in the vacant lot across from the Dollar Store. As they filled it with hot air before standing it upright, it resembled a whale. Crews ignited the burners with what looked like swords of fire. Whooshing sounds preceded the displays of color.
People gasped, amazed by the sights and sounds.
On Friday morning the weather was springlike and the wind was still. At 7 a.m. 26 balloons took off from McDougal Field. The mood of the small town lifted along with them.