IMMOKALEE, Fla -- Dozens of hot air balloons and their pilots crowded the Immokalee Airport this morning. It's for the Balloons Over Paradise Festival, all in an effort to raise money for charity and inspire the younger generation to take flight.
As the rising sun starts to peek over the horizon, more than 30 massive hot air balloonS are filled full of air. One of them is Hamlet, the world's largest flying pig, standing 115 feet tall. His pilot is Doug Gantt from Denver, Colorado.
"When pigs fly was my father's favorite phrase, when I was a kid growing up, I said dad, I need a new bike, he said, when pigs fly, kid. Dad, I need a new baseball glove. Oh sure kid, when pigs fly. Well guess what! Pigs fly but im still waiting on that new bicycle," he laughed.
This is a first time event for Immokalee and officials say it took six months of planning.
They hope it will boost tourism in the area. Casino marketing director Jim Gibson says this is a free event, though parking costs five dollars.
That money goes to local charities. Among those at the event - the Ave Maria football team. The group helped handle the balloons, thanks to some special training
It was too windy for the balloons to fly today but even on the ground it was a good opportunity to get an up close and personal look.
If you missed out today, the balloon event will take place again tomorrow morning before the crack of dawn at the Immokalee Regional Airport.
Balloons will inflate at six in the morning and the event will last until four in the afternoon.