The event has become popular during the years, pulling in hot air balloon pilots from as far away as Virginia and Utah. Carlton said he expected as many as 18 pilots this year from mainly central Illinois, including Mahomet, Paxton and Champaign-Urbana.
Carlton said he’s surprised — after 15 years — that the fun event still is happening.
“At this point, I don’t see it ever ending,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun and everyone likes doing it. It’s unique.”
While the pilots are ready to fly, it takes cooperation from Mother Nature to make the event happen, particularly when it comes to the wind, which needs to be less than 10 mph. At this point, Carlton said the forecast “is about as good as we could expect.”
Heading into the weekend, the National Weather Service was predicting a mostly sunny day on Thanksgiving with a high near 60 degrees.
It has been four years since the pilots have had the appropriate weather conditions to have the event, Carlton said.