For the past 20 years, the Sun Journal’s news staff has brought you — our readers — live coverage of the Great Falls Balloon Festival.

This year, as the festival celebrates 21 lofty years on Aug. 16-18, the Sun Journal is excited to offer one of our readers a chance to cover the event by taking a free ride in a balloon and writing about the experience. The Sun Journal will publish your personal story (and photos if you like to shoot) in the Sunday, Aug. 18, paper, with your byline.

The lucky, aspiring journalist for this “assignment” will be chosen based on the strength of an essay submitted to the Sun Journal describing why they feel they should get this chance. Writing ability will be strongly considered.

The winner will receive two tickets to ride in one of the balloons reserved for media. The winner will write a firsthand account of the experience for Sunday’s newspaper and, if interested, work with our photo staff to choose images for publication with the story.

No one affiliated with the Sun Media company or with the Great Falls Balloon Festival will be eligible to participate in the essay contest.

To enter, submit an original, personal essay of no more than 250 words to the Sun Journal at [email protected], or by mail to “Balloon Festival Essay Contest,” P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME, 04243, or in person at any of our offices in Lewiston, Norway, Rumford or Farmington by Friday, Aug. 9. Include your full name and phone number with your submission so we can contact the winner. Submissions that are more than 250 words or that do not have contact information will not be considered.

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