Color the wind: Medora to host hot air balloon rally, kite fest
Medora will color the wind when it hosts the Medora Hot Air Balloon Rally and Badlands Kite Fest from Friday through Sunday, Sept. 7-9.
Sponsored by the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation, the rally is an opportunity to watch hot air balloons being launched at dawn from Medora and floating over the North Dakota Badlands.
Eleven balloons have been confirmed -- a couple more than usual, said Justin Fisk, the Foundation’s marketing and communications director.
Location of the launch is determined by the wind.
“A lot of times, they take off from the grassy area next to the Badlands Motel, but sometimes they move to west side of town or south of Medora,” he said. “It’s so beautiful to watch them float silently across the Badlands. The only sound is the whooshing of the burners when they go up a little higher. It’s super cool.”
Fisk expects more than 100 kites will be launched later in the morning from the Tjaden Terrace on the hill above Medora.
“You can see them over town, but drive up the hill to check them out,” Fisk said. “Kites will be for sale -- giant cartoon character types with really cool long streamers. You don’t need a lot of wind. It’s a very relaxed kind of weekend.”
Rena Rustad, who lives in Roseglen, is organizing the Medora event. She is owner of Prairie Wind Kite Company and also organizes the SkyFest every May at Fort Stevenson State Park.
“It’s one of those activities you can do with the entire family. It’s non-age, its non-political and its inexpensive,” she said.
Rustad will have kites for sale during the festival.
“The type of kites we sell have a fiberglass frame and ripstop nylon. My kids have the very first kite they ever got at 3 and still fly them,” she said.
Kite enthusiasts know each other and have been doing festivals for dozens of years, she said.
“We don’t have an organized group. Some are coming to the festival and some to the festival in Minnesota. The ones coming will put on a very good show. We want the public to come and fly with us,” she said.
The number of kites in the air at any given time will depend on the wind.
“We have a wide variety of stuff to fly, depending on the wind strength and gusts. They vary in size from a normal 5-foot kite all the way up to 81 square feet,” Rustad added.
For more information about kites, visits the websites, prairiewindkites.com or skyfestnd.com.
* Pilot briefing 5:15 a.m.
* Passengers arrive 5:45 a.m. (in air 6:30 a.m and land at 8 a.m.) Riding in the balloons is by invitation only.
* Pilot briefing 5:15 a.m.
* Passengers arrive 5:45 a.m. (in air 6:30 a.m. and land at 8 a.m.)
Saturday and Sunday
* Kites begin setup at 10 a.m.
* Kites flying from approximately 11 a.m.. to 4 p.m.
Folks bringing their own kites will just have to steer clear of the kites already in the air.
For more information call 800-633-6721