ANDERSON, Ind. — Clutching tightly to his mother’s shoulder, Jamison Jackson, 3, buried his head in his mother’s chest to keep his face out of the sharp wind.
In the distance a string of hot air balloons trailed off into the horizon along with Jackson’s favorite balloon.
“The one with the stars on it,” he said shyly.
Deep blues and pinks streaked the evening sky creating breathtaking backdrop for the flaming balloons. Each balloon harnessed the power of the icy winds to create a moment of magic at the Balloons over Killbuck. The event, hosted at the Anderson Airport, includes a hot air balloon competition for pilots from around the country.
Spectators milled through tents with vendors and enjoyed helicopter rides and live music after the balloon launch.
Jennifer McKinley, Jackson’s mother, said this was her first time attending the event, but she thought it would be something her son would enjoy.
“He likes big balloons,” she said.
Tiffany Weisheit, 24, of Anderson, said this was her first year to watch a hot air balloon launch. Dressed in waterproof boots with furry tops, a furry plaid hat and wrapped in a blanket, Weisheit was dressed for the weather.
“It’s very cold,” she said.
Bob Owens, director of the event, said it might be a little chilly.
“But that is part of the fun of a fall festival,” he said with a laugh.
On Friday, 15 balloons prepared to launch into the night, but only eight were successful. High winds kept several pilots from participating in the event.
Owens said there were 10 balloons at the first event in 2011. This year there are 27. He said last’s year’s cold and wet weather prevented people from attending the event, but this year they have already had more than 1,000 people in attendance.
Next year, Owens said there may be several changes as officials contemplate changing the name and date of the event and adding new attractions.