One of the most widely recognized symbols in the world, the seven story tall RE/MAX Hot Air Balloon visited Sugar Springs for the 1st time on the evening of August 14, 2009. There are now over 90 RE/MAX hot air balloons in the fleet. The average RE/MAX balloon makes 65 appearances a year, each event averaging more than an hour, for a fleet total of about 6,400 hours of advertising - equal to nearly nine months of 24-hour flying. RE/MAX expects to pass the 100-balloon fleet milestone in the near future.
As the balloon started to head up it looked like it just missed a tree. But I remember the pilot mentioning "We never hit trees - we occasionally kiss them." It then went directly over the Hearth Restaurant and Golf Course and I am sure a few golfers missed their putt looking up. People started coming out on deck and lawns just to view the awesome site.
I was in the chase van with the driver and two others that were selected to fly that evening. Although that didn't happen due to the length of time it took to find the balloons location. They are still looking forward to our next balloon adventure in Gladwin even after hearing our stories.
Not sure of the time, but it was still light out when they touched down in Gladwin just North of Nester Twp, East of F-97 around Campground and Woods road. We lost all communication for a while around 8:30 PM, but managed to find the route using my Blackberry which led us to their location by 9:00 PM. While driving down a 2-track trail with the help of two guys on 4-wheelers, who we laughingly, stated "You only see this on TV". We found the team standing in the middle of the road waving and swatting mosquitoes (or were small aliens). We worked in the dark with headlights loading the balloon in the bag, next the gondola and headed out towards home laughing over the events of the day with a new respect for 4-wheelers.
Arriving back in Sugar Springs by 10:00 PM we celebrated the evening with a history of the Hot Air Balloon and a traditional Champaign ( non-alcoholic) Toast and headed home to wired up to sleep.
Many thanks to the 4-wheelers that helped us along the way.
This event was a TEAM effort with the Sugar Springs Airstrip Committee and RE/MAX River Haven of Sugar Springs in Gladwin. Without their Fly-in promotion and suggestions to participate by Committee Chairperson, Rebecca Duggan, this event might not have happened. We partner with them yearly and create enjoyment for all of Sugar Springs while promoting interest and growth to our area.
Our next Annual Fly-in BBQ and Balloon Fest will be held on August 24, 2013. Each year three lucky winners are drawn for a free full flight. Tickets can be picked up at our office at: RE/MAX River Haven - Sugar Springs Office Only, 1415 Sugar River Rd, Gladwin, MI 48624
For more information on how you can get a flight on one of our Beautiful Balloon's, contact firstname.lastname@example.org