Pandemic restrictions on large crowds forced the cancellation of the annual Great Falls Balloon Festival this year, a highly popular three-day event that can draw as many as 100,000 people to the Twin Cities. The festival would have been held last weekend.

We recognize the cancellation is a real loss for our community and had planned to livestream a “virtual” launch showcasing two Maine pilots and their balloons last Saturday, but the weather did not cooperate so we’re going to take another run at it at 5:45 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 22.

One balloon will be piloted by Jim Rodrique of Androscoggin Balloon Adventures in Lewiston and the other piloted by Derald Young of Damn Yankee Balloons in Dixfield.

The first balloons of the morning lift off during the 2017 Great Falls Balloon Festival. Brewster Burns file photo

The launch can be seen live on and on our Facebook page.  The video will also be available to be viewed later.

The location of the launch is not being revealed for safety reasons because, like the Great Falls Balloon Festival board of directors, the Sun Journal intends to honor social distancing guidelines for your safety. We do, however, want you to enjoy a “lift” by watching the launch.

A special thank you to Jim and Derald, and we encourage you — our readers — to enjoy the show.

Judith Meyer, Executive Editor

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