By Matthew Nash
Olympic Peninsula News Group
SEQUIM — Organizers of the Olympic Peninsula Air Affaire on Aug. 26-27 in Carlsborg look to bring in up to six hot air balloons from across the country.
“For our fifth year, it’d be nice to have the most balloons ever,” said Captain Crystal Stout with Morning Star Balloon Co.
Hot air balloon rides would begin sometime between 6:30 a.m. and 7 a.m. Aug. 26-27 at the Sequim Valley Airport, 468 Dorothy Hunt Lane, Sequim.
The six balloons will travel from Canada, Idaho and Washington for the event but Stout said they’ll need three to four passengers per day to make it viable for the pilots to come.
Including Stout’s balloon, seven hot air balloons would be the most to fly in Sequim at one time since the Sequim Balloon Festival seven years ago.
Those who RSVP can fly in a balloon for $250 per person but money is not exchanged until after the flight happens. Flying is weather-dependent and if a flight is cancelled, locals can reschedule to fly with Stout at a later date.
Stout said with so many balloons potentially coming, the pilots will need crew to help with setting up and home stays with a bed and bathroom for a pilot and possibly one spouse.
To volunteer, she encourages people to email her at [email protected] or call 360-601-2433 to set up a training schedule. Stout said she is flexible to volunteers’ schedules.
Sign-ups also will be available at Olympic Lavender Company, 1532 Marine Drive, Sequim, during Sequim Lavender Weekend, July 21-23, where Stout will have a “bounce balloon” set up where people can go inside and see the inner-workings of a balloon.
She’s also continuing work with her Dream Catcher Balloon Program, a two-seated balloon that allows mobility challenged individuals the chance to fly in a hot air balloon. Her next flight will be Sunday with a person with quadriplegia from Woodinville.
Co-organizer Emily Westcott of the Air Affaire said they are trying to add more events and planes, especially antique planes, for the fifth year, too.
For more information, visit www.olympic peninsulaairaffaire.com.
Matthew Nash is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at [email protected].