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The balloons are back in town

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Article by: Ben Conley, The Dominion Post

MORGANTOWN — The hot air balloon game is often about patience.

If it’s not rain keeping you down, it’s wind, or fog … or a virus.

Take Balloons Over Morgantown, for example.

The annual aeronautic affair was deflated in 2020 due to COVID-19, but it’s back in town this weekend … hopefully with patience intact.

“Well, it’s not the most ideal forecast in the world, but there will be opportunities to get those balloons launched. You just may have to wait for fog to lift or showers to move out,” Accuweather Senior Meteorologist Bob Larson explained.

There are five launches scheduled for the weekend — 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. today and Saturday and 8 a.m. Sunday.

“The bulk of the rain is probably going to come Friday evening and Saturday morning,” Larson said. “I think the rain is pretty much done by late morning or early afternoon on Saturday, but it will probably stay mostly cloudy.”

Sunday, he said, is the best bet for balloon-worthy weather.

“That’s the thing with ballooning, you can put in all the time and work and sometimes the weather just won’t cooperate,” Sarah Claydon said.

Claydon is the communications manager with University Toyota, the event’s title sponsor dating back to its days as Mountaineer Balloon Festival.

A mainstay of the weekend, the NightGlow, had to be nixed due to concerns about social distancing in light of the ongoing pandemic.

Claydon said she’s hopeful mother nature doesn’t put a damper on the rest.

“We’re just really hopeful we can get these balloons off and people can see and enjoy them,” she said. “It’s been a crazy year for everyone and people really enjoy seeing the balloons. It’s something nice for people to be able to experience – something different.”

All balloons will launch from the Morgantown Municipal Airport.