Close to 1,000 people were in Midland Thursday night to kick off the 22nd annual Remax Balloon Festival.
Because of the weather, the balloons didn't fly on the kick-off night, but the pilots fired their burners and put on a show of high flames for the people who made it downtown.
"You don't even need a coat on out here, it's so warm," laughed Rodney Marr, who came to Midland with his wife from Merrill.
More than 50 hot air balloons are registered to decorate the skies during this weekend's events. Thousands of people are expected to watch the show.
"This is my first year here, my first time flying, this is actually my first event, first time actually in Midland, and I love this, this is absolutely amazing," said pilot Craig Campbell, who came in to Midland from Battle Creek with his family.
Organizers call this weekend's events the largest hot air balloon show east of the Mississippi River. It's an event local businesses also appreciate.
"This is huge, I mean anything helps, especially this time of year, you know, any extra business, anything extra that comes downtown we appreciate it," said Robert Rugenstein, manager of Pizza Sam's in downtown Midland.
Hot air balloon events run through the weekend. To get a complete listing of the schedule, visit Remax Balloon Festival's website.
Copyright 2012 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.