By Greg Johnson
An annual event returns to Shanty Creek Resorts later this month, brightening the Bellaire sky with air balloons.
Hot air balloonists take to the sky in colorful splendor once again during the third annual Balloons Over Bellaire community event on Aug. 25 and Aug. 26, and host Shanty Creek Resorts is making it possible for visitors to have a special view.
The balloons, weather permitting, soar into the air each evening from the slopes of Summit Mountain and the tubing hill near Lakeview Hotel between 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. Set against the beautiful backdrop of Lake Bellaire, the site makes for a picture-perfect panoramic as the sky comes to life with suspended color.
“It is impressive. This year there are 20 balloons and when they take off in what is really a small area for the 20 balloons it is beautiful,” said Lindsey Southwell, director of marketing at Shanty Creek Resorts.
“The light is low before sunset—the view is fabulous without balloons—and then the creativity of the colors of the balloons is amazing. Some are what you would expect with stripes, but some are whimsical like one that has a wizard on it. I know my kids are enthralled by the sight. It’s really not something you ever see, and to see it that close is impressive,” Southwell added.
Rooms in the Lakeview Hotel remain available for that Friday and Saturday, and rates start at $169 for reservations.
“They take off right behind the Lakeview Hotel so anybody with a room facing the lake can see it without having to leave their room. We have a viewing area by the patio, the pool area, and on the ski hill there where people can bring lawn chairs and enjoy,” Southwell said.
This year’s event is co-sponsored by The Dockside and The Shanty. Gordy Schafer, owner of The Dockside, and Phil Glebe, owner of The Shanty, are not only avid balloonists, but also initially approached Shanty Creek Resorts to host the event three years ago. Schafer is also the owner of the balloon featuring the wizard, which Southwell noted was a must-see.
“There really isn’t anything else like this event in northern Michigan,” Southwell said. “Obviously it is very dependent on the weather, but we haven’t had bad weather yet.”
The balloons take flight around 6:30 p.m. each night and soar over the mountain, golf courses at Shanty Creek Resorts, and Lake Bellaire. There is also an early morning voyage taking place Saturday, Aug. 26 at 7:30 a.m. when the balloons fly over Torch Lake.