Winds too strong for Splash-N-Dash balloon ride

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DANVILLE, Ill. (WCIA) — The winds proved to be too strong for hot air balloons to lift-off Thursday evening.

Roughly 10 balloons were scheduled to participate in Danville Boat Club’s Splash-N-Dash, a prelude to Friday and Saturday’s Balloons over Vermilion. Pilots held briefings several times Thursday night to determine if it was safe enough to fly over Lake Vermilion, but ultimately decided to call it off shortly after 7:00.

The pilots had planned to take part in a contest to see which pilot could drop a bean bag onto a large target on the lake first. People bought tickets to see the contest and listen to live music at the boat club. Dozens of boats also encircled the target, where they waited for the balloons.

While boaters said they were disappointed, they still planned to enjoy the evening.

“It happens,” Ron Reich said. “Unfortunately, the balloon has got to be safe. I just enjoy being out on the water with my friends and that’s what it’s all about.”

William Pitlik, one of Reich’s passengers, saw the Splash-N-Dash last year. He had hoped to take in similar views Thursday night.

“It’s a bit of a bummer,” Pitlik said. “But we’ll go out and see them tomorrow night at the airport, I guess.”

More than 30 balloons will launch from Vermilion Regional Airport on Friday and Saturday. Admission will cost $5. Kids 10 and under can attend for free. Tickets will be available at the gate. Gates open Friday at 3:00 PM and Saturday at 1:00 PM. Click HERE for the full schedule of events.

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