Panguitch’s annual balloon rally gets underway; photo gallery

PANGUITCH — Despite the hot air balloons being grounded Friday morning, the annual Panguitch Valley Balloon Rally has already kicked off its three-day weekend of festivities.

Updated July 1, 1:30 p.m. to include additional photos and a short video of Saturday morning’s launch. Note: due to windy weather conditions, no balloons were inflated on Main Street Saturday night, nor were any launched on Sunday.

Balloonmeister Bryan Hill explains windy forecast to participants at the Panguitch Valley Balloon Rally, Panguitch, Utah, June 28, 2019 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

Dozens of people gathered early Friday morning in a field between the high school baseball fields and the city cemetery, as event balloonmeister Bryan Hill delivered the disappointing news that conditions were too windy for the balloons to safely launch. Although there was little to no perceptible wind at ground level, a small red helium test balloon went straight up about 50 feet, then zoomed horizontally as a brisk crosswind picked it up and carried it northward.

“It’s a tough call,” Hill acknowledged, adding that the weather forecast is looking decidedly better for both Saturday and Sunday.

At the invitation of organizers, several groups of balloonists went ahead and inflated their balloons for the public to view and enjoy Friday morning but kept them at ground level.

Balloonists Dave and Shelly Melton of New Harmony, who brought along their purple-and-rainbow-colored balloon named “Purple Haze,” said the Panguitch event is one of their favorite balloon rallies.

Weather permitting, the balloons are scheduled to launch at 6:30 a.m. and descend at approximately 9 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.

Also scheduled to take place is a “balloon glow” Saturday night, during which all the balloons will be lined up along Main Street at dusk  and filled with fiery air as the sun goes down.

Live bands will play music, and food and craft vendors will be open for business throughout the festival. Children activities, such as bingo and inflatable structures, will also be available. The event is free and open to the public.

For more information on the Panguitch Valley Balloon Rally, visit

Check out the Cedar City News photo gallery of Friday morning’s static display of several hot air balloons.

Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery.  

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Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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