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July 3, 2018

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Angola Balloons Aloft


July 6-7, 2018

Lifting our community to new heights



Angola Balloons Aloft • ©KPC Media Group Inc.

July 3, 2018

Ann Saggars

102 N. Main Street, Kendallville, IN 46755 (260) 347-0400

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Angola Balloons Aloft is a special supplement to The Herald Republican, The News Sun and The Star, which are publications of KPC Media Group Inc. ©2018 All rights reserved

Joy Newman Advertising Director


1220 S. Wayne St., Angola, IN 46703


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July 3, 2018

Angola Balloons Aloft


Welcome to 2018 Angola Balloons Aloft! We are honored and pleased to welcome you to the 2018 Angola Balloons Aloft. This exceptional event provides a unique opportunity for this region to witness the best balloonists as they showcase their talents. Big or small, the awe of witnessing hot air ballooning, up close and personal, delivers a one-of-a-kind experience. We want to thank area leaders, coordinators, volunteers and the teams supporting this year’s event, for their hard work. It’s those efforts that helps to make each year an extraordinary experience, allowing this event take flight! Parkview Health is privileged to again support this family-friendly event. As the signature sponsor, we hope your time at this year’s event is filled with wonderment, excitement, and creates lasting memories with your loved ones for years to come. May there be clear skies, promoting amazing sights, and we wish everyone a entertaining time. Mike Packnett President & CEO Parkview Health

Dear Balloons Aloft visitors, Welcome to Angola and the 2018 Angola Balloons Aloft. We are excited to have this annual event in our community. Although U.S. Highway 20 reconstruction in the city of Angola will make this event a little more difficult to get to this year, you will find that it is well worth the drive to attend this destination event. Thousands of visitors attend this destination event each and every year. We greatly appreciate you taking your time to support this event. We are especailly grateful to the organizers, pilots and their support staffs for making this the premier event in our county each year. Be sure to make it to one of the air balloon competitions, enjoy the food vendors, take in the classic cars and antique tractors and attend the many fun family friendly activities during your visit. This will be a great opportunity to take in all the sights, smells and educational offerings that Angola Balloons Aloft brings to our community each year. 2018 looks to be the best Angola Balloons Aloft event yet. Take time to enjoy the experience the hospitality the city of Angola and Balloons Aloft offers and be sure to tell your friends about us. We look forward to seeing you next year for the 2019 edition of Angola Balloons Aloft. Sincerely, Richard M. Hickman Mayor, City of Angola

For An


On behalf of the Angola Balloons Aloft Event Committee it is our pleasure to invite you to the 9th Annual Angola Balloons Aloft hot air balloonfest held July 6-7 at Angola High School. Opening ceremonies begin at 6 Friday evening. Our Committee meets throughout the year to plan and bring new and exciting additions to Balloons Aloft. This year is no exception as we feature competitive hot air balloons and adorable special shape characters. Evenings will light up the sky with a nighttime illumination and include the popular Retro Radio DJs on Friday and Saturday evening! We would like to extend our thanks to Parkview Health for their presenting sponsorship along with the many Northeast Indiana contributors. Without their support, Angola Balloons Aloft would not be able to offer this free exciting family-friendly community event. Special thanks to the Metropolitan School District for opening their doors to us! Please look over our sponsorship information in this insert and thank and frequent the variety of sponsors that make Angola Balloons Aloft possible. Saturday morning will feature competition balloons flying over the high school competing for prizes and a pancake and sausage breakfast open to the public sponsored by the Angola Band Boosters from 7-10. Check the Schedule of Events in this insert for the many events scheduled throughout the two-day event and look for all of the excitement taking place at the Kid’s Fun Zone! There will be a variety of food vendors, retail vending at the Balloons Aloft Bazaar and more excitement than you can imagine. So be sure to bring out the entire family, your lawn chairs and a camera for some amazing photo opportunities. Lastly, we ask for your patience coming and going to the event as there will be some traffic delays due to construction issues. We are working with the city to make sure you are made aware of the best alternate routes available. Hoping for blue skies and calm winds, Event Directors Walt and Marsha Drewes; Tim Crooks Angola Balloons Aloft

Sunday Services at 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.

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525 E 200 N, Angola, IN • 260-665-8402

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Offering diverse enrichment programs for all ages of our community. 322 S. Wayne St., Angola, IN • (260) 665-3362 OPEN Mon. thru Thurs. 9 a.m.-8 p.m.; Fri. 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.; Sat. 9 a.m.-3 p.m.


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July 3, 2018

People can participate, engage pilots BY MIKE MARTURELLO

ANGOLA — Organizers of Angola Balloons Aloft are reaching out to the public to become a part of the event beyond being spectators at the host site, Angola High School. People can welcome balloonists to their properties — typically acreages and farms — and there are some safety pointers for the public to follow. “If a balloon lands on a property with permission, the pilots always enjoy

Lakefront (Pigeon River Chain of Lakes) • Boat Rentals • Fishing • Swimming • Full Hook-ups • 50 Amp Svc • WiFi • Camp Store • Cabins

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2 miles West of I-69 on US 20 Website:

having the host property owner engage! It’s part of the enjoyment for the pilots and crew to meet rural folks and entertain them with their sport,” said Marsha Drewes, who along with her husband, Walt, chair the committee that organizes Balloons Aloft. If you live within an 8-mile radius of the Angola High School and would like to become part of the Angola Balloons Aloft event, all you need is a white sheet. “If you would not mind having a balloon landing or launching from your property, all you have to do is place a white sheet in a visible place in your yard,” Marsha Drewes said. Affix the sheet to the ground and a balloonist might just land in your yard on Friday or Saturday. Or they might use your property to launch from. Balloons Aloft organizers ask participants to place a white sheet on the spot starting Friday early morning until Sunday morning. Make sure the sheet can be seen from the air so when a balloon pilot sees it, he or she knows you have given him or her permission to land. Drewes pointed out that because of the variability of winds and other factors, putting a sheet in your yard does not guarantee a balloonist will land there. In addition, people who might want to follow a balloon over the countryside are being asked to exercise caution and respect people’s property. “Actually the biggest effort on the part of the public is to make sure they don’t follow too closely to the chase vehicles and not cause a traffic jam,” Drewes said. “If you are watching or following balloons, make sure you keep your eyes on the highway!” If people do follow balloons and decide to stop along a road or at a property, they should make sure they are parking in a place where parking is allowed, such as a county road shoulder.


People who want to welcome pilots to their properties during Angola Balloons Aloft are asked to affix a white sheet to the ground designating a landing spot. Balloons Aloft runs Friday and Saturday.

Sometimes We Meet By Accident! If you should meet by accident come to… We now offer body shop services for Boats, RV’s, and Personal Watercraft. Call for details.

AngolA Collision serviCes NEW LOCATION

1211 N. Wayne St., Angola, IN 260-665-8604 Fax: 260-665-8989

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July 3, 2018

Angola Balloons Aloft


Balloons Aloft a final tuneup for Team USA’s Cliver BY CHRIS REED

ANGOLA — Chris Cliver’s first balloon ride was in a sling strapped to his father’s chest. Cliver has come a long way since that maiden voyage as a baby. That initial trip, though, went a long way in establishing his life-long love for hot air balloons. “My father got me into it young, that was something that was always important to him,” Cliver said. “There aren’t that many of us out there, so we have all pretty much been raised as second- or third-generation pilots.” When Cliver comes to Angola for the city’s 9th annual Balloons Aloft on July 6, the stop will serve as a final tuneup of sorts for what may be his most important ballooning voyage yet, competing with Team USA at the Junior World Championships in Poland. The trip marks an important milestone for the 26-year-old Cliver, who first learned to pilot a balloon after graduating college in 2014 when his father gifted him that same balloon he first rode in as a baby. However, competition — let alone the heights of the sport — was never something that he planned on doing at first, Cliver said. “I really just wanted to learn how to be a pilot and have fun doing that,” he said. “It wasn’t really until after I got my license my dad came to me and said ‘you know, you should really try this’ that I even considered it.” On the surface, a ballooning competition sounds quite simple. Competitors are briefed the morning of in regards to a location where a tarp has been placed somewhere along their path. It is then the pilot’s job to fly overtop of the tarp and drop a bean bag with a pennant attached onto it. Whichever pilot is most accurate with their drop wins. The thing is, though, there is so much more to it than that. Balloon competitions,

Cliver said, are more mental than physical. “It’s really all about the preparation the night before and the morning before the race,” Cliver said. “As a pilot, I can’t really steer the balloon that much, so I have to rely on knowing which way the wind is blowing and prepare my navigation accordingly. “There are things I can do, like raise or lower the balloon depending on what the wind currents are doing, but if you make a mistake then you are really in a bad spot because it’s not like you can just turn around and start over.” Cliver joined Team USA for the World Championships after several successful domestic competitions. He admits, though, the pool of potential pilots is small to begin with. Only 12 pilots qualified for the Junior Worlds — being younger than 27 years in age — and Team USA takes four to the event. That small community makes for a tight-knit, family type of feeling amongst the competitors, though. “Even though racing is an individual sport, so technically I am competing against the other members of Team USA, we still try to help each other out with planning, navigation and try to put each other in a position to succeed,” Cliver said. “It is a very close community.” Cliver, somewhat of a ballooning purest at heart, said that while he enjoys competing there is something else that drives his love of ballooning. “Doing this allows you to go so many places and see so much and make so many memories,” said Cliver, who has traveled to places such as Dubai and Mexico. “For me, that’s what it is all about. “You don’t always remember a 12th-place finish in a race, but you remember the flights you had, the friendships you make and the places you get to see while being a part of this family that the ballooning community gives us.”


Chris Cliver will be flying in Angola Balloons Aloft as a training exercise in preparation for his participation in the Junior World Championships in Poland later this year.

Steuben County 4-H Fair July 20-26 Steuben County Park, Crooked Lake, Angola Mud Run – Rodeo – Truck and Tractor Pull – Free Concerts – Free Educational Seminars Kids’ Day Activities – Livestock Auction – Showmanship Contest Call (260) 668-1000 Ext. 1400 for more information or visit


Angola Balloons Aloft • ©KPC Media Group Inc.

July 3, 2018

July 3, 2018

©KPC Media Group Inc. •

Angola Balloons Aloft


July 3, 2018

©KPC Media Group Inc. •

Angola Balloons Aloft



Angola Balloons Aloft • ŠKPC Media Group Inc.

July 3, 2018



Pilot: Shawn Raya, Oxford, Michigan Sponsor: Sullair


Pilot: Jeff Barlett, Mentor, Ohio Sponsor: Ridenour Acres


Pilot: Chuck Wyss, Fort Wayne Sponsor: Denny Zent, state representative


Pilot: Jeff Menchhofer, Cicero Sponsor: ReMax Results

Even Higher


Pilot: Larry Coan, Livonia, Michigan Sponsor: Steuben County Community Foundation

Michigan Cat

Pilot: Deven Cook, Battle Creek, Michigan Sponsor: Parkview Health

Pilot: Rick Kerber, Wayland, Michigan Sponsor: Michigan Cat


Pilot: Larry Lankenau, Fort Wayne Sponsor: Bowen Center


Pilot: Scott King, Midland, Michigan Sponsor: Campbell & Fetter Bank

Dream Racer

Pilot: Chris Smart, Huntington Sponsor: Farmers State Bank


Pilot: Phil Clinger, Battle Creek, Michigan Sponsor: Findlay Convention & Visitors Bureau


Pilot: Steve Sitko, Jackson, Michigan Sponsor: Cameron Memorial Hospital

Pilot: Jeff Pestun, Holland, Michigan Sponsor: Trine University

Perfect Calm

Red Headed Step Child

Goodnight Gracie

Pilot: Ken Myer, Fowlerville, Michigan Sponsor: Key Bank

Pilot: Dennis Hall, Howell, Michigan Sponsor: Ramada Inn

Pilot: Alan Warren, Waterford, Michigan Sponsor: Mitch and Debra Rhoads

Ralphie 2


Pilot: Wes Dickerson, Milford, Michigan Sponsor: Croxton & Roe Insurance

Special Purpose

Pilot: Janet Lutkus, Medina, Ohio Sponsor: Superior Auto

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July 3, 2018

Angola Balloons Aloft



Slap Gappy

Pilot: Charlie Mays, Covington, Kentucky Sponsor: Best One Tire & Auto

Finally Flying

Pilot: Chad Crabtree, Delton, Michigan Sponsor: JICI


Pilot: Derrick Jones, Hudsonville, Michigan Sponsor: Dry Dock Marine


Pilot: Justin Wilkinson, Bermuda Dunes, California Sponsor: PayServe Systems

Smiley Scarecrow Indy Hot Air

Pilot: Jordon Cox, Westfield Sponsor: Wells Fargo


Pilot: Andy Barnum, Ottawa Hills, Ohio Sponsor: Jacobs Insurance

Happy Hour


Pilot: Dustin Hansen, Brownsburg Sponsor: Bon Appetit


Pilot: Chris Cliver, Houston, Texas Sponsor: Touchstone Energy

Pilot: Jeremy Fox, Norwalk, Ohio Sponsor: Stoy Farms


Old MacDonald’s Farm

Indy Hot Air

Pilot: Jack Semler, Westfield Sponsor: City of Angola

Pilot: Adam Jones, Preston Park, Pennsylvania Sponsor: Fairlife Milk Bridgewater Dairy


Gentle Breeze Pilot: Brian Trapp, Lebanon, Ohio Paid Ride Balloon


Pilot: Paddy Nilz, Tucson, Arizona Sponsor: Merrill Lynch

Peg Leg Pete

Aerial Marketing, LLC Pilot: Dave Reineke, Mahomet, Illinois Sponsor: Steuben County Tourism Bureau

Lady Blye

Gentle Breeze Pilot: Steve Searles, Lebanon, Ohio Tether Balloon


Pilot: Steve Wilkinson, Palm Desert, California Sponsor: Vestil Manufacturing


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July 3, 2018

Balloons Aloft got a big lift by delay of road construction projects

Event will feature a variety of free family fun BY MIKE MARTURELLO

Goodnight Gracie and Michgian Cat, 2017 Angola Balloons Aloft.


Angola 260.665.7427 Coldwater 517.278.7724 Toll Free 800.343.8311 610 W. Broad Street Angola, IN

ANGOLA — Angola Balloons Aloft has gotten a big lift this year. Originally the event was facing the possibility of a logistical nightmare with two major road construction projects in the vicinity of Angola High School, where Balloons Aloft is being staged for the third year. Instead, delays has caused the reconstruction of U.S. 20 to be delayed, thus not interfering with one of the major thoroughfares that is used to access the high school. Nor is the C.R. 200N improvement project going to be going in full force, which could have been used as a local detour to eventually access the school. Consequently, “Lifting Our Community To New Heights,” the theme for this year’s edition of Angola Balloons Aloft, is going to be just that and without the hassles of major road construction. This year’s event will be July 6-7, and as usual, will feature a variety of family fun. “We’re doing some new, exciting things this year,” said Marsha Drewes, who with her husband, Walt, chair a committee of community volunteers who put the festival together. One of those things is the opening ceremony that takes place July 6 at 6 p.m. This year’s event is attracting pilots from across the country. There pilots signed up from nine different states, bring 35 balloons, including four special shape balloons. “Geographically we’re drawing from all over,” Walt Drewes said. In addition, two pilots who have qualified for the Junior World Championships in Poland — Christopher Cliver and Patrick Nilz — will be using Angola

as a tune up festival. “They’re gearing up, they’re practicing for the worlds. Battle Creek (Michigan) is a good proving ground and so is Angola,” Drewes said. Both days of the event will have tethered and paid balloon rides, activities for children and plenty of things for the whole family to see and do. Music from Retro Radio will again be on the menu both Friday and Saturday. Science Central in Fort Wayne will bring activities and Paw Patrol characters will also be on hand. There will be a petting zoo, car show, tractor show and helicopter rides. In the Fun Zone, there will be radio control racing once again, with a new twist this year. Participants will have the opportunity to race against Zeb Wise, the up-and-coming stock car driver from Angola. There will also be remote controlled aerial displays put on and the ability for attendees to meet with the balloon pilots. As long as the weather cooperates, balloons will launch both mornings and evenings and fly over different areas of the Angola area. Balloons Aloft continues to provide a fun, family-oriented weekend for all who visit. “There’s a lot happening. We’re still focusing on the balloons but we have a lot of activities,” Marsha Drewes said. Numerous food vendors will be on the grounds both days. Angola Police Detective Tim Crooks, who serves on the Balloons Aloft organizing committee, said people need to remember that there is no smoking or drinking of alcoholic beverages on the Angola High School grounds. Only service animals are allowed, also. There will be commemorative T-shirts and hats available this year, too.

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July 3, 2018

Angola Balloons Aloft



Smiley the Sacrecrow, left, and Oggy the Friendly Dragon, right, two of Indy Hot Air’s three special shaped balloons, will be on display at Angola Balloons Aloft.

Semler family brings love of exotic balloons to ABA BY CHRIS REED


Oggy the Friendly Dragon, one of Indy Hot Air’s three shaped balloons, stands 12 stories tall and weighs over 900 pounds when it is blown up.

ANGOLA — Ballooning is a family affair for the Semlers, owners of Indy Hot Air. Jack Semler’s first experience with hot air balloons came 23 years ago in Nappa Valley, California. “I was on my first date with my wife,” he said. “That day I fell in love both with her and with ballooning.” The Semler family’s hobby blossomed from there. Both Jack and his wife, Lynn, had prior aviation experience, including Jack’s work as a airplane pilot, so it was somewhat of a natural fit. Eventually, that hobby turned into a business venture, when the family founded Indy Hot Air 12 years ago. Thing is, this company doesn’t just work with any kind of balloon. Indy Hot air specializes in exotic, shaped balloons and tours across the country parading through the sky in majestic fashion. The company owns three shaped balloons, the largest being a dragon named “Oggy,” which stands 173-feet tall — nearly 12 stories in height — and has a volume of 175,000 cubic feet. Others include Smiley the Scarecrow, standing 120 feet tall and One-eyed Jack being the smallest at 95 feet in height. Oggy and Smiley will be on display when the Semlers return to Angola Balloons Aloft on July 6. “We were in Albuquerque at a balloon festival and — most times a festival

may have one or two shaped balloons — they had an entire parade of shaped balloons,” Jack Semler said of his first experience with shaped balloons. “They had over 100 shaped balloons in the air at one time. To see all those balloons, all similar in size and shape, in the sky at the same time, it is pretty spectacular.” Jack said the reactions the odd balloons draw is a big reason why he decided to take the plunge. “I’ve seen traffic on an interstate come to a complete stop so people can get out of their car and take a picture.” The balloons do come with some extra work involved, though, with the largest being more than twice the size of a regular hot air balloon. Semler said that, while him and his wife can prepare a regular balloon for flight by themselves, it takes a group of 10 people to get a shaped balloon ready for takeoff. “We had to design our own special carts just so we could transport them around,” Jack said. “Then we have to educate the crew everywhere we go about how to handle and work with them.” In addition to Balloons Aloft, Indy Hot Air will be taking its balloons to cities such as Albuquerque, Colorado Springs and New Orleans, and will cross the southern border into Mexico for the Festival Internacional Del Globo, which begins on Nov. 16. The crew will also be back in Indiana for the Elkhart County 4-H Fair beginning on July 20.


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2018 ANGOLA BALLOONS ALOFT SCHEDULE Times are approximate and schedules may change without notice. All events during Angola Balloons Aloft are dependent on prevailing weather conditions. The safety of our pilots, volunteers and spectators is our primary concern. 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Helicopter Rides FRIDAY, JULY 6 11 a.m.–4 p.m. Classic Cars/Antique Tractors 7 a.m. Media flight 11 a.m.–9 p.m. Food and retail vendors 4–9 p.m. Kid’s Fun Zone, food and retail vendors Noon –9 p.m. Kid’s Fun Zone 2 p.m. Parkview Samaritan helicopter 6 p.m. Opening ceremonies Soarin’ Hawk Raptor Rehabilitation 7 p.m. Mass balloon launch; tether and paid 2-4 p.m. Center demonstration balloon rides 3-5 p.m. Science Central experiments and 8–10:30 p.m. Music by Retro Radio demonstrations Twilight Hot air balloon illumination 3:30–4:30 p.m. Meet the balloon pilots SATURDAY, JULY 7 3:30–5:30 p.m. Paw Patrol characters, face painting and coloring contest 7 a.m. Balloon competition and paid balloon rides 7 p.m. Hot air balloon competitions; tether and paid balloon rides 7–10 a.m. Pancake and sausage breakfast by the Angola Band Boosters — open to 8–10:30 p.m. Music by Retro Radio the public Twilight Hot air balloon illumination 9:30–10:30 a.m. Remote control air show

July 3, 2018

Get text alerts about Balloons Aloft KPC NEWS SERVICE ANGOLA — Sometimes there just wasn’t a good way to find out what was going on out at Angola Balloons Aloft. Were the balloons going to be able to launch? Are there any changes with the family fun? This year the organizers with Angola Balloons Aloft have created a text alert system so members of the public can stay informed on updates about the event. If you want to receive text alerts, text 797979 with the message “balloons” to receive alerts. Typical messaging and data charges, if any, may apply.

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Angola Balloons Aloft 2018  

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