7News gets a bird’s-eye view from Apache Balloon Festival

7News gets a bird’s-eye view from Apache Balloon Festival

LAWTON, Okla. (TNN) - The Apache Balloon Festival is in its second year, and for the first time we got a look from the basket of a hot air balloon. Flying a hot air balloon is tedious work, and takes careful calculation.

Friday morning, 7News Anchor Caitlin Williams and Photographer Oliver Knop launched about six miles southeast of the target, which was the Apache Casino Hotel. Crews chose to set up in Ranger Estates off 60th Street.

“Up top around 500 foot, we were doing 20-25 mph, which is very fast for a hot air balloon, we usually fly in 6 mph or less," said Pat Harwell, the pilot of the balloon.

Harwell is from Shreveport, Lousiana, and has been a balloon pilot for 29 years. The $80,000 balloon has the capability of lifting 2,000 pounds.

“Today we were a little light," Harwell said. "Y’all didn’t weigh that much. I can carry five passengers, each weighs 200 pounds. Today, I carried 600 pounds.”

For those who’d rather keep their feet on the ground, Apache Casino Hotel’s Event Manager says, there are other things to enjoy.

“Live music, bounce houses, kid zone, carnival rides, food trucks, the list just goes on and on," said Bayless. "It is family friendly.”

If you would like to take a ride, you can find more information at apacheballoonfest.com.

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