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Balloons Over Paradise Festival set to take off in Immokalee

IMMOKALEE, Fla.- A big hot air balloon festival starts Saturday morning.

More than 50 custom hot air balloons will ascend at sunrise.

Friends Bob Carlton and Drew Barrett said the first time they saw big balloons sealed the deal.

“Started back 40 years ago. Saw a balloon, chased it down, thought ‘how cool,’ so I went and learned how to fly. Bought a balloon,” said Carlton.

“I was on vacation in Colorado, bought a ride, thought it was the coolest way I ever flew.  Came back and this guy taught me to fly balloons,”

Carlton has been a commercial balloon pilot for almost four decades. Barrett was an assistant dean at the University of South Florida. Out on the field, the two friends say they share the common ground of the love of floating in midair.

They travel at the speed of the wind, so that if it’s a 5 mile an hour wind, you’ll travel 5 mph,” said Barrett. “You don’t know how far you’re gonna go until you see how fast the wind is every morning.

For full information on the event, click here.

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