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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, childrenís 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. "Weíd 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 itís an entire weekend affair," she said.

White says the attraction to the event is simple ó "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, Lincolnís 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. ó Balloon launch

Dusk ó Balloon night glow

Saturday, Aug. 25

6:30 a.m. ó Balloon launch

6 p.m. ó Balloon launch

Dusk ó Balloon night glow, fireworks display

Sunday, Aug. 26

6:45 a.m. ó 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 Lincolnís 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 ó 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 wasnít 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 passengersí 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.

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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 canít steer the balloon, they can move up and down to find a layer of air that will allow the balloon to change direction.

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. Youíve got to watch that. When youíre flying, the biggest concern is looking out for obstacles on the ground. You donít 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 Irelandís 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 worldís 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 wasnít 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 pilotís licenses. The couple now own their third balloon, which retains the same name but is drenched in a rainbow of colors.

But itís 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. Itís just fun to be with the people and see the smile on the kidsí 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 countryís 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 Irelandsí 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.

"Itís really a big family affair. We fell in love with that aspect of it. Groups of families crew together. For my family, itís such a draw for us to be together," she said. "Itís 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 youíre competitive, you can support your habit," she said. "We have given charity rides, and we use it for its fun.

"Itís 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 thatís positive and healthy, itís 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 youíre 2 or 72, thereís 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. "Weíre 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, itís the second largest in central Illinois."

The best time for flying in central Illinois is during the months of August, September and October. "Thatís 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]

ĎThe School Storyí

[AUG. 22, 2001]   ďThe School Story." Andrew Clements. Simon & Schuster, 2001. 196 pages. Grades 3-6.

This is another great book by the author of "Frindle" and "The Landry News." Twelve-year-old Natalie Nelson has written an unfinished story called "The Cheater" and given it to her best friend, Zoe, to read. After Zoe has finished the manuscript she encourages Natalie to finish writing the story because she canít wait to read the end. Zoe is so excited about her friendís writing ability that she gives it to her teacher, Ms. Clayton, to read.


Ms. Clayton agrees that Natalie has written an excellent story, and Zoe becomes even more determined to get it published. The plot thickens when Zoe tells Natalie she should give the story to her mother, who is an editor for a publishing company. Natalie would love to get her story in the hands of her editor mother, but she doesnít want her mother to know she wrote it.

Zoe, of course, has the perfect solution. Pick a pseudonym for herself ó authors do it all the time. And Zoe under the assumed name of Zee Zee will be her agent. They will also need the help of Ms. Clayton. Readers will want to keep the pages turning to find out how Zee Zee outwits the editor in chief and quickly moves the manuscript through the process of becoming a book.

"The School Story" is not only a good book with excellent character and plot development. Those who dream of writing will also get a feel for the publishing world of authors, agents and editors.

[Pat Schlough, Lincoln Public Library]



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ĎNimís Islandí

[AUG. 22, 2001]   ďNimís Island." Wendy Orr. Random House, 2001. 125 pages. Grades 3-5.

Nim lives on a beautiful island with her scientist father, who is currently sailing the ocean looking for plankton to study. While her father is gone, Nim keeps busy climbing palm trees to get coconuts for food, cutting bananas from the plants with a machete, collecting drinking water and recharging the batteries to keep her dadís computer running. She has Selkie, a sea lion, and Fred, a marine iguana, to keep her company. Nim and her father have kept the exact location of the island a secret so it wonít be overrun with tourists.


When a storm disrupts her cell phone connection with her dad, Nim turns to e-mail and seeks advice from Alex Rover, the author of a book she has read. Nim believes the writer is a man ó Alex isnít ó and that the hero of her books can solve all problems. When Alex receives an e-mail from Nim asking what to do after a volcano erupts and she receives an injury, Alex decides to try to visit the island.

Alex does find her way to the island, but not before the strong, unshakable heroine saves the day.

Orrís story proceeds at a fast pace and is packed with humor, suspense and plenty of action.

Wendy Orr lives in Australia and wrote the first draft of "Nimís Island" when she was 9.

[Pat Schlough, Lincoln Public Library]



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Artists at weekend fair receive awards

[AUG. 28, 2001]  Eighty-one artists had works on display Aug. 25 and 26 at Lincolnís 28th annual Art Fair. Artists came from eight states, and the weather was very nice both days. The artists have always been pleased with Latham Park setting and none said they would not be returning. As usual, survey sheets were given to the artists. The responses are yet to be fully evaluated, but there did not seem to be any major problems. Co-chairpersons managing the fair were Debra Short and Shirley R. Bartelmay. 


Three-dimensional class

Sally Foster of Springfield ó Wood

Daphne Davies of Osage City, Kan. ó Jewelry

Mila Aciro of Palos Park ó Art in sawdust.

Two-dimensional class

Sue Scaife of Springfield ó Pastel

Connie Glowacki of Janesville, Wis. ó Watercolor

Dennis Rosen of Wind Lake, Wis. ó Photography

Special awards

The Janet Harris Memorial Award to the most creative painter was awarded this year to Julie Purdum of Hanna City for her pastels.

Alice Jaeger-Ashland of St. Ann, Mo., received the Best of Show award for her printmaking. This award was sponsored by Lee Dowling of Lincoln.

Click here for Aug. 9 LDN posting: "Stuart Wyneken turns out the lights after 30 years with LCT summer productions."

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 ó Decaturís 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.

ē  "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

ē  "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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ē  "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 "Youíre the Top."

Sponsored by Doug and Peg Schmalz and ADM Foundation


[Theatre 7 news release]


Lincoln Community Theatre website

Lincoln Community Theatreís 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 LCTís website at, e-mail LCT at, or write to Lincoln Community Theatre, P.O. Box 374, Lincoln, IL  62656.


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