Colorful Crafts Fill The Sky Over “Balloonsbury″
BLOOMSBURY, N.J. (AP) _ More than 60 gaily colored balloons rose up, up and away over this hamlet Saturday, temporarily transforming it into ″Balloonsbury″ for the eighth annual lighter-than-aircraft races.
Balloonists from as far as California and France brought their craft to the three-day event, held to raise funds for local fire and first aid squads and charities.
″I’ve never seen the sky so blue,″ exclaimed Jonathan Eld, pilot of the balloon owned by Benihana of Tokyo restaurateur Rocky Aoki.
Eld’s balloon led the wind-powered way for two of the day’s main events, a so-called hare-and-hounds flight, in which one craft lands and contestants try to drop markers close to that spot, and an airborne attempt to grab the keys of a new car off a 20-foot pole.
″Today couldn’t have been any nicer if it had been ordered,″ said balloonist Bob Merker of Philadelphia.
The event began Friday, with Gov. Thomas Kean delivering a sack of air mail stamped with a special ″Balloonsbury″ postmark, said race director Bob Waligunda. New Jersey was the destination of the first air mail flight in 1793 from Philadelphia to Woodbury, also by balloon, he said.
Winners of the races, which will continue Sunday, will divide $10,000 in prize money.