If you looked into the sky over Oneida Saturday you may have seen an unexpected burst of color. The 2nd annual Balloons and Bounty Festival in Oneida has given new brilliance to the skies over Madison County. Our Beth Jones was there for the up, up and away.
MADISON COUNTY, N.Y. -- A record number of balloon crews fired up for the 2nd Annual Balloons and Bounty Festival at Wolf Oak Acres in Oneida Saturday.
Wolf Oak Acres Owner Katrina Blanchard said "We went from 1 to 5 to 11 to 20. Most of the pilots this year are from all over New York. However we've also had some from Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Florida."
Onlookers could only marvel as the colors of the rainbow inflated before them, and floated into the great blue yonder. For those at the helm, they know the experience is unlike any other.
Bill Hughes, a 40 year balloon pilot, boasted "It has a 360 degree view, you can look out in any direction. You can't do that in any other aircraft."
Rich Hamilton, also a balloon pilot, said "It's very quiet very relaxing, very calm. In a way, it's the best way you can be one with nature."
Organizers said the bounty in the Balloons and Bounty festival comes from the nearly 50 local food and wine vendors here. The goal of bringing them into the balloon festival is simple. Support and celebrate local producers.
"We do not ever have enough publicity for our local farmers and that includes the wineries. They're all part of this as well. So the more we can get out here and get in front of the public. Let them know about the products that are available instead of going to the California wines, let them know how much bounty we have right here in our own backyard," said Blanchard.
Whether on the ground or in the air, Balloon and Bounty had plenty for everyone. The Balloons and Bounty Festival runs through Monday.