Birds weren’t the only thing soaring above the city of Howell this weekend– hot-air balloons, kites and sky divers were also flying throughout the sky for the 30th annual Howell Balloonfest.

“We are celebrating a milestone event,” said Michelle Toka, an event coordinator.

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The festival featured a carnival, numerous vendors and of course, balloons.

“Seeing the hot-air balloons launch is just a wonderful sight,” Toka said.

Toka is also a fan of the balloon glow, a nighttime event where the pilots inflate the balloon envelopes, ignite the burners and as they say in Howell, ‘let it glow’.

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“The balloons look like huge light bulbs in the night sky,” Toka said.

Another attraction at Balloonfest was a plane brought in by Crosswinds Aviation. Kids were allowed to climb aboard to check out the controls.

“We put about 1,500 kids in our plane over the three-day weekend,” said Matt Dahline of Crosswinds Aviation. “My favorite thing at Balloonfest is to see the kids’ faces light up as they get in the cockpit and see all of our avionics lit up and running. They just get a big thrill out of it.”

The kids get to imagine what it’s like to fly, but hot-air balloon pilot Andrew Baird gets to experience the real thing.

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“Flying is just a pure joy,” Baird said. “It’s man’s purest form of flight and until you experience it yourself, you just can’t describe it.”

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