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Part 3

Ballooning at Lincoln festival

[JULY 28, 2001]  Each August the skies in Lincoln are filled with a rainbow of color during one of the largest area events featuring the hot-air balloon. The 13th annual Lincoln Balloon Festival, sponsored by the Logan County Chamber of Commerce, is a three-day event which also features a fine arts fair, antiques market, car show, children’s activities and entertainment, to give visitors plenty to do in between balloon launches.

[Click here for Part 1:  Ballooning makes a family event]

[Click here for Part 2:  Ballooning history and how balloons fly]

Balloonists from all over the country participate in the event, attended by an average of 20,000 people. The festival displays 48 balloons, which is the capacity for the event location at the fairgrounds, according to event coordinator Pam White.

Despite an expanded weekend schedule this year, with new offerings like a soapbox derby and fireworks display, White said she hopes the festival will continue to grow. "We’d like to do even more out at the fairgrounds. Hopefully within the next few years we will have shuttles running from the downtown area to the fairgrounds. We have to take it one step at a time. We want the festival to grow so it’s an entire weekend affair," she said.

White says the attraction to the event is simple — "just the colors and a little basket attached to a balloon going up in the air," she said. "Anything that flies attracts people."

Other events at the fairgrounds include a craft show, petting zoo, carnival and free
grandstand entertainment. There is a $2 admission fee per person, and children under age
5 get in free. There is free parking inside the fairgrounds and at remote parking areas.

In conjunction with the balloon festival, Lincoln’s 28th annual Art Fair will be at Latham Park downtown from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 25 and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 26.


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Lincoln Art & Balloon Festival

Dates: Aug. 24, 25, 26

Location: Logan County Fairgrounds

Schedule of events

Friday, Aug. 24

6 p.m. — Balloon launch

Dusk — Balloon night glow

Saturday, Aug. 25

6:30 a.m. — Balloon launch

6 p.m. — Balloon launch

Dusk — Balloon night glow, fireworks display

Sunday, Aug. 26

6:45 a.m. — Sunrise spectacle, balloon launch (fly in)

A flea market, antiques and collectibles fair will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 25 and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 26 at downtown Lincoln’s Scully Park, located one block south of the courthouse on Kickapoo Street. This event is sponsored by the Oasis Senior Citizens Center.

A classic car show on the downtown square will also be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 26.

For balloon launch information and weather reports, call the Logan County Fair office, (217) 732-3311, during these times: 3 to 11 p.m. Aug. 24; 5:30 to 11 p.m. Aug. 25; 6 to 7:30 a.m. Aug. 26.

For more information about the festival, call the Lincoln/Logan County Chamber of Commerce, (217) 735-2385, or check the website:

[Penny Zimmerman-Wills]

Part 2


[JULY 26, 2001]   

[Click here for Part 1:  Ballooning makes a family event]


A sheep, duck and rooster were the first lucky passengers to float through the air in a hot-air balloon, launched by Joseph and Ettienne Montgolfier in 1783. The first recorded manned flight, in a hot-air balloon constructed from paper and silk, took place in Paris that same year. According to, local farmers were very suspicious of the fiery object descending from the sky, so pilots offered champagne to appease them and celebrate the first human flight — a tradition carried on even today.

The first balloon flight in North America, piloted by Jean-Pierre Blanchard, was in Philadelphia in 1793, but it wasn’t until 1960 when the modern hot-air balloon was born.

The first man-carrying free flight took place in Nebraska in a Raven prototype balloon constructed of a polyurethane-coated nylon and powered by a propane burner.

By 1963, the growing sport was able to sustain the first U.S. national championships. The
balloons used for passenger flights today were developed in this country during the 1960s and have two main technological advances: rip-stop nylon, which is a safe and reliable material for the envelope, and a gas burner to heat the air in the envelope. Today there are over 5,000 balloon pilots in the United States alone.


How balloons fly

Hot-air balloons consist of three major parts: the envelope, burner and basket. The envelope is the colorful fabric bag that holds the hot air. When the air inside the envelope is heated, the balloon rises. The burner is positioned above the passengers’ heads and produces a huge flame to heat the air inside the envelope. The basket is where the
passengers ride and is usually made of lightweight, flexible wicker.

To descend, the pilot allows the air to cool, and the balloon becomes heavier than air. The pilot has complete control of up-and-down movements by controlling the heat in the envelope. Once airborne, balloons just float with the wind. A pilot checks wind conditions before launching, so even though pilots can’t steer the balloon, they can move up and down to find a layer of air that will allow the balloon to change direction.


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During the flight, the balloon is followed by the chase crew, usually in radio contact with the pilot. The crew help the pilot prepare the equipment, hold open the envelope while it fills with cold air and apply weight to the outside of the basket as needed before launch. They also follow the balloon in a vehicle and help pack the balloon up and take it back to the launch site.

Besides terrain, the other main concern for a balloonist is weather, especially wind conditions. Ideal weather for this sport consists of high pressure, moderate temperature and wind speeds of less than 8 mph on the surface. Most balloons fly within two or three hours of sunrise and sunset, when winds are calmest and conditions most stable.

"The weather is very critical. We like to fly when winds are less than 10 miles an hour. You’ve got to watch that. When you’re flying, the biggest concern is looking out for obstacles on the ground. You don’t steer the balloon. You can go different directions by going different altitudes, but you just go where the wind blows," Ireland said.

(To be continued)

[Penny Zimmerman-Wills]


[Click here for Part 3]

To watch and to fly

Ballooning makes a family event

Part 1

[JULY 21, 2001]  A hot-air balloon ride taken during a 1985 vacation to California changed Jim and Nancy Ireland’s life. "We took our first balloon ride that year in the Napa Valley and kind of got hooked on it," Nancy said.

Up Up And Away

by Jimmy Webb

Would you like to ride in my beautiful balloon?

Would you like to glide in my beautiful balloon?

We could flat among the stars together, you and I.

For we can fly.

We can fly!

Up, up and away, my beautiful, my beautiful balloon!

The world’s a nicer place in my beautiful balloon.

It wears a nicer face in my beautiful balloon.

We can sing a song and sail along the silver sky.

Upon returning to their home in Lincoln, the couple began working on a crew for a hot-air balloonist in the area, but that wasn’t enough to fulfill their passion for their newly discovered sport. They soon purchased their first balloon, named Sunglow for its bright orange color, and Jim earned both his private and commercial pilot’s licenses. The couple now own their third balloon, which retains the same name but is drenched in a rainbow of colors.

But it’s not just the feeling of floating among the clouds or the fantastic views from above that keep the couple involved in the sport. "One of the greatest things about it is seeing people that come out and watch the balloons and take a ride and see how excited they are. Especially the children; they love it," she said


"I just enjoy the flying part of it. I like to fly. It’s just fun to be with the people and see the smile on the kids’ faces," her husband added.

The couple attend approximately 10 festivals a year, mostly in surrounding states, but have also flown several times in the Albuquerque Balloon Festival in New Mexico, which is one of the country’s largest events, with more than 500 participating balloons.

Ireland, 60, who is soon to retire from his job with the Illinois Department of Transportation, said he and his wife, who is already retired, plan to do a lot more traveling with their balloon in the future when time allows.

As with many hot-air balloon enthusiasts, the Irelands’ hobby is shared by their family. Their daughter Sherry, and her fiance are both hot-air balloon pilots, while their other daughter works on the crew.

For 41-year-old Aissa Frazier, the passion for the sport was sparked 13 years ago during her stint as chairman of the Logan County United Way. The organization sponsored one of the balloons at the Logan County Art and Balloon Festival, and her then 3-year-old son, Beau, was fascinated with the large, inflatable object. Over the years, they began
watching local events and assisting balloon crews.

"He wanted a balloon, and I told him when he was 16 he could get his license. We bought a balloon last May, and now we are both student pilots," she said. Her 14-year-old son, Luke, is already studying for the day he can be a student pilot, and her 6-year-old daughter lends a hand, while her two older children also join in the fun when visiting.

"It’s really a big family affair. We fell in love with that aspect of it. Groups of families crew together. For my family, it’s such a draw for us to be together," she said. "It’s fun the whole family can participate in together."

Frazier, vice-president of the Balloon Association of Greater Illinois, has named her balloon "Oh, Baby" because it signifies family ties.

While some pilots travel every weekend to some event across the country, Frazier, a principal at Heyworth Elementary School, said having a balloon has given her a way to help people. Although she does attend festivals and events in the Midwest, she has focused on events close to home and donated her skills to help raise money for a friend suffering from cancer, among other causes.



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"Some pilots travel every weekend and compete. It takes a fair amount of skill to make money competing, but some prize purses are much as $10,000. If you’re competitive, you can support your habit," she said. "We have given charity rides, and we use it for its fun.

"It’s amazing. I feel that God gives you some neat talents you can share with people, and this is my way. When you see people get so excited about something that’s positive and healthy, it’s such a good thing."

And, despite the fact that weather in the Midwest can be unpredictable, she says the view from above gives a new perspective to corn and beans. "I love the solitude. In the morning, the flying is unbelievably beautiful. In Illinois, to fly over a field of crops, it gives you such a good perspective of the beauty even here in the flatland. It gives you a different appreciation," she said.

Frazier also says the sport is something people of all ages can get involved in. "A member of our crew is in her late 60s and she loves it. Whether you’re 2 or 72, there’s something you can do, like drive the car, give weather reports, move the basket and a lot of things that allows everybody to feel like they are a part of it."


Hot-air balloon facts

*Hot-air balloons cost about the same as a car or boat. The most popular sport-size balloons cost between $18,000 and $25,000.

*There are more than 3,500 balloons and 5,000 licensed pilots in the United States.

*Hydrogen balloons were used by both armies for airborne observations during the Civil War.

*Two major causes of accidents involving hot-air balloons are landing in high winds and contact with power lines.

*Balloonists study all signs of air movement, such as flags, leaves and smoke. During very hot weather, pilots can judge surface wind direction by watching cows on the ground, who usually stand facing the breeze.


The communities of Champaign, Lincoln and Danville, which all host balloon festivals, also seem to have the most hot-air balloonists and balloon dealers. One reason for that, according to Frazier, is that the tradition and love of the sport is being passed on to the next generation. "We’re all grooming our children. Many people who first got involved are now getting their children involved," she said. "The Lincoln festival was small enough at the start that people could get involved. Now, it’s the second largest in central Illinois."

The best time for flying in central Illinois is during the months of August, September and October. "That’s prime ballooning season. The weather is more stable, and we have less rain and turbulence," Frazier said. "But flying in the winter is beautiful. You just have to dress warmer."

(To be continued)

[Penny Zimmerman-Wills]

[Click here for Part 2]

‘Stories for the Extreme Teen’s Heart’

[AUG. 1, 2001]   Stories for the Extreme Teen’s Heart." Compiled by Alice Gray, Multnomah Publishers, 2000, 295 pages.

"A time to remember and a time to hope. Remembering teens who gave their lives for God…You are today’s inspiration. Celebrating teens who are living for God…You are tomorrow’s hope." "Stories for the Extreme Teen’s Heart" is Alice Gray’s wonderfully inspirational compilation of stories that "celebrates teens who are saying yes to God."

Focusing on the qualities and characteristics appropriate for good behavior and conduct of one’s life, Gray’s message conveys the promise of love and hope to those who are filled with God’s joy. These qualities are represented thematically in the chapters and illustrate examples of God’s influence on our daily lives. The chapters include heart-rending short stories, poems, and quotations on forgiveness, virtue, sharing your faith, making a difference, inspiration, trust and courage, changed lives, and faith.


The mood for "Forgiveness" is established at the beginning with George Herbert’s "Regret": "He that cannot forgive others, breaks the bridge over which he must pass." The chapter also contains selections from modern writers such as Joshua Harris ("I Kissed Dating Goodbye") and past greats such as Mark Twain.

"Virtue" begins with "Things of Beauty," a thoughtful observation by the 19th century writer Ralph Waldo Emerson: "One of the most beautiful compensations of this life is that no one can sincerely try to help another without helping himself."

Jim Burns and Greg McKinnon turn the tables on the reader in "Making a Difference." Their contribution entitled "Four Words" relates the story of a young boy who wrote Mother Teresa to ask how he could make a difference in the world. Her response: "Find your own Calcutta."

"Inspiration" offers poignant remarks from Jim Elliot who, according to Gray, died a martyr for his faith: "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep, to keep what he cannot lose." Gray retells the story of the Roman soldier Vespasian in the chapter "Trust and Courage." After failing to renounce their loyalty to Christ, the Roman emperor Nero sentenced 40 of his wrestlers to death on a frozen lake. Inspired by their devotion, Vespasian, who was originally guarding the wrestlers, experiences a conversion and joins them on the frozen lake.



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"Changed Lives" contains excerpts from Misty Bernall’s "She Said Yes" and Josh McDowell’s "More Than a Carpenter."

In "A Special Kind of Love," McDowell describes his hatred towards his alcoholic father, a hatred that turned to love after his decision for Christ "took that hatred and turned it upside down."

The concluding chapter, "Faith" has contributions from notables such as Charles Spurgeon, Joan Wester Anderson and Max Lucado. One of the most powerful passages comes from Billy Graham’s book "Unto the Hills." In "Precious Sacrifice," a girl who is ashamed of her mother’s disfigured arms and hands learns that the disfigurement was caused when her mother saved her from a burning house. According to Graham, the message of faith is that "the blood of Christ may seem to be a grim and repulsive subject to those who do not realize its true significance, but to those who have accepted His redemption and have been set free from the slavery of sin, the blood of Christ is precious."

"Stories for the Extreme Teen’s Heart" is a timeless collection that parents can share with their teen-age children. In a sometimes-confusing world, these stories can offer teen-agers hope, encouragement and inspiration. As one young woman states in the beginning, "If other teens are going through something in their lives, they can sit down with this book and get a new understanding of what God desires for them." Alice Gray’s insightful and thought-provoking collection is recommended for all parents, teenagers and pre-teens.

For more information visit the library at 725 Pekin St. or call (217) 732-8878.

[Richard Sumrall, Lincoln Public Library District]


Theatre 7 offers drama workshop

[AUG. 3, 2001]  Theatre 7 in Decatur will host a drama workshop on Saturday morning, Aug. 18. The workshop will include sessions on auditioning and non-acting opportunities in theater. All of the directors from Theatre 7’s upcoming season’s productions will also be present to give workshop participants information and insight into the shows.

The workshop will be an excellent opportunity for anyone interested in getting involved in community theater. People of all ages and backgrounds are encouraged to attend.

The workshop will be at the Theatre 7 headquarters, downtown Decatur, 131 N. Water St., from 9 a.m. until 1:30 p.m.. There is a small fee and lunch is provided. To register or for more information, call 423-2107 or send e-mail to Theatre 7’s website is at

Comedy, mystery and musical to be on Decatur stage

[JULY 31, 2001]  Season tickets are now on sale for the 38th season of Theatre 7 — Decatur’s Community Theatre. Call the Decatur Civic Center box office, 422-6161, for more information. All shows will be performed at the Decatur Civic Center Theatre. The following shows will be presented as part of the coming season.

•  "Moon Over Buffalo" (comedy)

Written by Ken Ludwig

Nov. 2-3 and 9-10, 7:30 p.m.

Nov. 4 and 11, 2 p.m.

A backstage farce about an acting couple in the 1950s who have one last shot at stardom as a famous movie director is on his way to Buffalo, N.Y., to see them perform. Misunderstandings and mistaken identities pile up for loads of laughs. Written by the author of "Lend Me a Tenor."

Sponsored by Bodine Electric, Miles Chevrolet, Romano Company and Skeff Distributing

•  "Deathtrap" (mystery)

Written by Ira Levin

Feb. 8-9 and 15-16, 2002, 7:30 p.m.

Feb. 10 and 17, 2002, 2 p.m.

A successful writer of Broadway thrillers is struggling to overcome a "dry" spell when he receives a script from a student. Suspense mounts steadily as the plot begins to twist and turn with devilish cleverness that will hold you enthralled until the final, startling moment of the play.

Sponsored by Behnke and Company


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•  "Anything Goes" (musical)

Music and lyrics by Cole Porter

Book by Guy Bolton, P.G. Wodehouse, Howard Lindsay and Russell Crouse

April 12-13 and 19-20, 2002, 7:30 p.m.

April 14 and 21, 2002, 2 p.m.

A deliriously witty festival of songs and rollicking humor unfolds on a luxury ship making the Atlantic crossing in 1934, with a society girl caught between her finance and her boyfriend, a nightclub queen, a bevy of Times Square sirens and a slightly nervous gangster. Songs include "I Get A Kick Out of You"; "Blow, Gabriel, Blow"; and "You’re the Top."

Sponsored by Doug and Peg Schmalz and ADM Foundation


[Theatre 7 news release]


‘The Wiz’ opens this Friday

[JULY 30, 2001]  Lincoln Community Theatre’s production of the popular, upbeat musical "The Wiz" is preparing to take the stage Aug. 3-11 at Johnston Center for the Performing Arts on the Lincoln College campus. The hip musical will feature a cast of 24, unique lighting techniques and an evening of family entertainment sure to delight all ages.

Although based on L. Frank Baum's "Wizard of Oz," in which a little girl named Dorothy is abducted from her home by a tornado and transported to the Land of Oz, "The Wiz" takes the classic fairy tale in an all-new direction with an exciting rock score and a decidedly modern libretto that reframes the story in such a way that it seems somehow more relevant.

Cast in the role of Dorothy is Allison Leonard of Lincoln. Brothers Nick King and Alex King, also of Lincoln, play the Tinman and the Cowardly Lion, with Greg Runyard of Minier rounding out the foursome as the Scarecrow. Andy VanDeVoort of Springfield, who appeared last summer as Daddy Warbucks in LCT’s sold-out production of "Annie," returns to the Lincoln stage as the magnificent "Wiz." The three witches are portrayed by Jodie Duncan of Lincoln (Addaperle), Debbie Poynter of Greenview (Evillene) and Deb VanDeVoort of Springfield (Glinda). Other Lincoln residents appearing as cast members are Allen King as the Gatekeeper, Miranda Stone as the Monkey, Donna Kessinger as Aunt Em and Tamera Turner as the Soldier Messenger.


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Chorus members include Betsy Buttell, Tina Mayer, Rachel Kasa, Amanda Perry, Nathan Bottorff and Eric Agostino all of Lincoln; Carissa, Heidi and Abby VanDeVoort of Springfield; Tony Crawford and Kyle O’Dea of Clinton; and Alan DeLoria of Atlanta.

LCT’s production of "The Wiz" is directed by Tracy Tiritilli of Bloomington. The set is being designed and built by Max Levendel, also of Bloomington.

Season ticket holders may make their reservations at any time. Ticket sales will open to the general public on Saturday, July 28. The LCT box office is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tickets are $9 for adults and $6 for children through eighth grade. Ticket orders may be made by mail to LCT, Box 374, Lincoln 62656 or by calling the box office, (217) 735-2614.

More information is available at the LCT website:

[LCT news release]

Attention artists, graphic designers, anyone with an interest in promoting
the arts in Logan County

[JULY 25, 2001]  The newly formed Logan County Arts Association seeks to forge a bond between the people of Logan County and the arts. The arts association is in the process of determining how their logo should appear. Local artists and other interested parties are asked to submit their rendition of a new association logo.

The following guidelines should be used in making the logo:

  1. Use the name Logan County Arts Association.

  2. Use unique identifiers of Abraham Lincoln. These could include his signature or even his hat.

The winner of this contest and results will be announced in Lincoln Daily News. Entries should be submitted by Aug. 20.

You can mail your submissions to:

Lincoln Daily News

Subject: Art Association logo

601 Keokuk

Lincoln, IL 62656

Or submit your entry by e-mail to, with "Art Association logo" on the subject line.

Call Marshall Jacobs, (217) 899-6243, with any questions you may have about the association or logo.

[News release]

Lincoln Community Theatre website

Lincoln Community Theatre’s (LCT) website is up and available. The site serves a number of functions, from providing information on becoming a season ticket holder to showing what new productions are being planned. Pictures from last season's productions are also posted.

If you are interested in joining a performance or just going to see one, visit LCT’s website at, e-mail LCT at, or write to Lincoln Community Theatre, P.O. Box 374, Lincoln, IL  62656.


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