kanab balloon festAs Kanab’s Balloon Fest increases in scope, 40 balloonists and 12 bands will come to Kanab Feb. 17–19 to fly above the red rocks of southern Utah and provide live music for spectators.

Once word got out that balloonmeister Bryan Hill was organizing a hot air balloon event in Kanab, pilots from all over the U.S. started contacting him to get an invitation. With its mild winter and small-town camaraderie, many returning pilots have expressed excitement in coming back to Kanab after the warm welcome they received last year.

“I’m looking forward to flying in your fine little town again,” said returning pilot Gary Born who is celebrating his 36th year of ballooning.

The event is scheduled in February since it’s when the pilots could do it without another major balloon event with competing dates, and is a time when Kanab’s local economy needs a boost and when hotel rooms are available to host a large number of guests. It is also before the annual spring winds typically hit Kanab, which would make ballooning very difficult.

“As I read the biographies of the pilots coming here and all of the exotic locations that they’ve flown in around the world, I’m honored and humbled that they want to come to our ballooning event here in Kanab,” said Camille Johnson, assistant director of the Kane County Office of Tourism.

In conjunction with the recreation, events, and economic development departments, the Kane County Office of Tourism has focused efforts on events in the off-season from November to April.he goal is to increase traffic in the area and spending at local businesses,” said Ken Gotzenberg, director of tourism. “We are dedicated to improving the local quality of life year-round. Tourism benefits our community in more ways than one. The taxes collected from our visitors allow us to create events like Balloons and Tunes, which both the locals and guests can enjoy and reflect the fun and hospitality of our community.”

More information on the event is available at balloonsandtunesroundup.com and facebook.com/balloonsandtunesroundup.

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