This year's Heritage Inn International Balloon Festival is in the books as a huge success.
Organizer Jamie Kinghorn says the pilots got plenty of runs in.
"We got five out of seven flights completed, of course, Wednesday night was a wash and Friday morning was a wash, but we got the five flights and we got the glow, that's a record for our event," he says.
The Balloon Glow was really able to take advantage of its new location just north of the Centre Street bridge.
"Once again a massive success for High River, I've heard estimates of 15,000 people, I have no idea how many were there, all I know is I was in a sea of them and it was an incredible success, we managed to stand up most of the balloons, not all of them stood up, most of them did and we put on quite a show."
He says the traffic flow was really done well and the buses from the north and south helped to alleviate a lot of the usual congestion.
"From the pilots' perspective it was an amazing event and I keep getting these comments, and I'll go back to it, that the pilots come to High River because of the people in the community and the way that they're treated. They feel really special when they come to High River and all of them want to come back next year including our friends from overseas, they're all excited to come back for 2023 which will, of course, be our tenth anniversary, so we are looking to do some special things next year."
Kinghorn gave a special shout-out to the many volunteers that help make the event the success it was.
He also raved about the sponsors and says they'll be looking for more next year when they try to bring some very, very special shapes to the festival.
Kinghorn says the charge for parking was pretty well accepted.
"The stuff I did hear, hey that's the cost of hiring buses. We had to contract the buses out and that comes at a fee, of course, they have to pay their drivers, pay for fuel, all that kind of stuff so that's why we had that $20 parking fee in there. And let's not forget that we shared that with the High River Ag Society and all their volunteers as well as on the south end of town that was the Boys and Girl Club and we saw their buses there, so we did share a good portion of the revenue with those two organizations," Kinghorn says.