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Coming to a sky near you, again
One part balloons and the rest all flying machines imaginable, the Olympic Peninsula Air Affaire is beginning to take flight.
Organizers said this event, planned for Labor Day weekend, Aug. 31-Sept. 1, had been in the works about a year before last year’s Sequim Balloon Festival. The Sequim Balloon Festival has since been put on hiatus.
Emily Westcott, co-coordinator of the Air Affaire, said it’s a celebration of the City of
Sequim’s Centennial and 30 years of the Sequim Valley Airport, where the event takes place.
“It’s more than just balloons,” said Crystal Stout, captain of the Morning Star Balloon Co. “It’s an air show with wings, wheels and demonstrations.”
The event features balloon rides all week leading through the event (with fee), a skydiver, wing walker, biplane rides (with fee), remote control airplanes, live music, a car show and more.
Organizers are hoping for at least 50 planes to be on display.
Stout said the event has something for everyone.
“There’s been so much interest from different kinds of fliers,” she said.
She is one three hot air balloons teams providing flights for the event. People must RSVP through her by contacting 360-601-2443 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Stout said if more people RSVP, the more balloons she can bring in.
She’ll also provide tethered rides for her Dreamcatcher Balloon Program, which provides flights for people with disabilities.
Last year, Stout said they experienced a few complaints during the balloon festival after landing balloons in nearby fields.
“We make sure we get permission from a land owner first before we remove the balloon,” she said.
“Only one vehicle goes in to pick it up and we’re very respectful of people’s land.”
She encourages people to place white sheets in their yards if it’s OK to land and she has sheets available. Her plan is to hold a drawing for property owners who field they land in and offer two free rides.
Organizers said this could be the only year for the event and haven’t set many expectations.
“We want to go out and have a relaxed experience,” Stout said.
The Air Affaire has been run by all volunteers, Westcott said, and they’ve been receiving in-kind support in a number of ways from the community.
Volunteer opportunities are available at the event in different capacities from parking to booths to greeters to hot air balloon crew and more.
The event costs $5 to park a vehicle and is free to attend.
For more information, visit olympicpeninsulaairaffaire.weebly.com.