AMU Athletes Train as Crew for Balloon Festival
Published on Thursday, 12 April 2012 13:05
Ave Maria University offers a varied curriculum but few of the students expected to be learning about the art and science of hot air ballooning.
More than 40 of them -- mostly members of the AMU football team -- did, though, as they were trained by professional balloon pilots to help out at the first "Balloons Over Paradise" festival at the Immokalee airport Saturday and Sunday.
The AMU students will serve as crew, helping to inflate, launch, chase and recover the balloons -- more than 30 of them -- that will dot the skies in the early mornings and evenings over the weekend. Specialty balloons include the Flying Purple People Eater, a monster; Ham-Let, the world’s largest flying pig; and Miss Daisy, a flower that winks.
There will be balloon navigation contests with total prize money of $4,000 and numerous other activities including music with concert headliners John Anderson and Kathy Kosins, arts and crafts, agility dog shows, carnival games and -- of course -- numerous food vendors. Donahue Academy students also will be volunteering to help out the vendors at the festival.
“We hope this will become an annual event for the community and spark interest in youth to pursue careers in aviation,” said Chris Curry, Executive Director of the Collier County Airport Authority, which is co-sponsoring the festival along with the Seminole Casino.
For more information, including a detailed schedule, click here.