With the growing threat of the rapidly growing Brian Head Fire, many places in Southern Utah feel solemn. Despite this incoming threat that has so far evacuated over 1,500 residents in the area, the annual Panguitch Valley Balloon Ralley was not cancelled for the weekend after the fire began and started to rapidly grow in the nearby town of Brian Head. While smoke filled the Panguitch Valley from the nearby fire, making it hard to see the festivities and balloons, it was a great way to lighten people’s spirits and give a reminder to everyone that there is hope and to remain positive, even during threatening times.
Over 36 hot air balloons launch into the sky, glowing during the evening as festival goers are welcome to walk around vendors and restaurants that keep their doors open late for this event. There was live music, inflatable rides for kids, a raffle, biker parade, bingo, bike show, parachute jumping, and a craft fair, starting Friday night and going until Saturday night as the balloon glow happens. Saturday morning, a 5k started at 7:30 AM.
The fire has since evacuated parts of the Panguitch Lake area to residents living on the west side. As of June 28, 13 homes have been destroyed, many in the Panguitch Lake area. Over 1,600 personnel from all over the nation are helping out with this fire that has grown over 50,000 acres in ten days. There is only 10% containment reported on the fire, but the Panguitch community is grateful to the firefighters who have come to help save their mountains.
For more info on the festival, click here.
For more info on the Brian Head fire, click here.
Photo from the Balloon Rally’s Facebook page.