Balloons everywhere


of everything for everyone. The event also hosts a plethora of entertainment over the next week including Our Lady Peace, Shawn Mendez, Tyler Shaw, and lots more. Whelan has flown in a hot air balloon more than 3,000 times and doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon. “I will never retire. This is my job for life,” he laughed. “I get up everymorning looking forward to what I do. I don’t know the difference between a Friday and a Monday. I always make new friends ‘cause I’m always dropping in on people.” Whelan received an engineering license in aircraft maintenance from Transport Canada. He owns and operates Lighten Up Balloons where he creates and repairs hot air balloons with his partner Sandra Rolfe. Rolfe has won 57 Canadian and three world awards in ballooning. Whelan is scheduled to go to festivals this season in Gatineau, September 3 to 7, and Sussex, NewBrunswick, September 11 to 13, as well as St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, where he is this week. Whelan has also been invited to attend a festival in Taiwan in 2016. He has been to several festivals overseas including Australia in 2004. “We were flying upside down in Australia,” Whelan joked. The next festival in the lineup is the Gati- neau Balloon Festival, which will be held September 3 to 7. Whelan has been attending the Gatineau festival since its inception in 1988. If there is a hot air balloon floating around the area, there is a good chance it is Bill Whelan.

VankleekHill’s Bill Whelanwas once again floating in the sky surrounded by fellow ballooners at the Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu Balloon Festival. Each year since 1984 when the festival began, Whelan has been there. “Except for two years,” quipped Whelan. “I have been going to that festival since the beginning.” This year, the festival runs fromAugust 8 to 16 with 125 balloons taking off at sunrise and sunset as well as amidway, games, acti- vities, kiosks, food, balloon rides, and plenty

Bill Whelan in his Patriotic Eh! balloon at the Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu Balloon Festival, August 8.

Join the journey


living with kidney disease when they need it most. A diagnosis of kidney disease is life changing and impacts the entire family. That’s why teams of friends and families will join together to walk to support their loved ones. Anyone can join the Kidney Walk and help make a difference. It only requires a little time and effort, but each step will pro- vide hope tomany.The Kidney Foundation of Canada works to improve the lives of all people affected by kidney disease through research, government advocacy, peer sup- port, education and programs. Registration begins at 10 a.m. and the walk begins at 11 a.m. onOctober 4. Registra- tion can be done online at www.kidneywalk. ca.

On Sunday, October 4,The Kidney Founda- tion of Canada will be hosting the 2015 Kid- neyWalk at the Sportsplex inHawkesbury. The KidneyWalk is Canada’s largest com- munity event dedicated to raising funds for kidney research and programs that help sup- port Canadians living with kidney disease. One in 10 Canadians suffers fromkidney disease. Close to 10,000 Ontarians depend on life-sustaining dialysis treatments several times per week. More than 1,000 are waiting for kidney transplants. The Kidney Foundation of Canada’s Kid- ney Walks are taking place in 41 communi- ties in Ontario throughout September and early October, and provide hope for those

Plantagenet Bean Festival The annual Plantagenet Bean Festival is coming up September 18 to 20. Baked bean lovers can enter the best beans contest. There will be food tasting, buffet, strong man competition, activities for the whole family, concerts, and more. With advance tickets, a trip south, valued at $2,500, as well as a stay in Magog, could be won. Advanced tickets are on sale until August 26 and the draw will take place on August 27 in Plantagenet High School. For each ticket sold, $5 will be donated to the Prescott Russell Food Bank. More information can be found at, or by calling 613-673-4383. – Diane Hunter

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