Balloon Club takes flight in Vankleek Hill $0..6/"65 r  $0..6/ * 5:

out. Whelan has attended almost every balloon festival in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu since it began in 1984, missing only two or three. He has also attended every balloon festival in Gatineau since it began as well. Sylvain Tremblay, pilot for Piko, began flying in 1986. “A friend needed help with his balloons,” explained Tremblay. “After that, I began to fly and I fell in love with it. It’s a different world up there. It’s so peaceful. Everything else just disappears.” The Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu festival is a family event that has been entertaining people from far and wide for many years. With activity zones, carnival rides, stages shows, and hot air balloon flights, crowds

are treated to a wonderful week. More than 130 hot air balloons will take flight during the festival, including Bill Whelan with his PATRIOTIC EH! balloon.

Mary-Lou Bertrand, part of the Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, crew helps to get Piko in the air.

The Gatineau Hot Air Balloon Festival takes place September 3 to 7 at La Baie Park in Gatineau.The festival will also have rides, shows, and a lot of balloons, including one of Bill Whelan’s creations. More information on the Saint-Jean-sur- Richelieu International Balloon Festival can be found at Information on the Gatineau Balloon Festival can be found at www.montgolfieresgatineau. com.

with a smile. “I’ve slept in a balloon.” He belongs to a balloon club that meets every so often simply to enjoy each other’s company, discuss balloons and upcoming festivals, and fly among the treetops. Visitors and balloon club members from all over came to Whelan’s home and balloon shop July 18 for a mini festival. Organizers from the International Balloon Festival in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu were on hand with Piko, a popular big blue balloon

that will be highlighted at the upcoming festival scheduled August 8 to 16. Mary-Lou Bertrand, Ben Dufresne, Sylvain Tremblay and Richard Vaillancourt were in Vankleek Hill to fly their famous Piko. Piko flew just about five kilometres and landed on a country road. Locals saw the balloon land and rushed over to help pack it up for another day. Gaetan Piette, Gerard Piette, Monique Longtin and Joanne Piette from Casselman stopped to chat and help


A couple of times a year, the hot air balloon club meets and floats above the trees to capture a view that is simply breathtaking. Bill Whelan of Vankleek Hill has been on more than 3,000 balloon flights throughout his career as a balloonist and balloon creator. “My longest flight was 27 hours,” saidWhelan

Sunday till Thursday Dimanche au Jeudi 2 22 pour for $

The crew from Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Sylvain Tremblay, Richard Vaillancourt, Mary-Lou Bertrand and Ben Dufresne.

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Poursuivant une tradition d’excellence depuis plus de 36 ans. Continuing a tradition of excellence for over 36 years.

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