Balloons mark celebrations of Independence Day


The United States celebrates July 4 with a variety of traditions. Family barbecues, city parades, hot dog eating contests, and spectacular fireworks combine for that quintessential Independence Day. Provo has another tradition to add to the list: Balloon Fest.

While many people enjoyed the holiday by catching up on sleep, at 6:30am, crowds of families arrived to witness the majestic hot air balloons launch from the fields east of Utah Valley Regional Medical Center .

The Taylors of Salt Lake City flew the red, white, and blue balloon that has their printing business’ name on the side. Tim Taylor was the pilot and his wife, Daren, helped in the crew’s effort on the ground.

“It’s family. It’s fun,” Daren Taylor said. “It’s like coming home.”

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Indeed, that is the essence of Balloon Fest, which was held for the 28th year. The Taylors have been flying hot air balloons for over 20 of those years, “ever since we were married in one,” Taylor said.

Leslie Smith, a BYU alumna from Southern Calif., is a Balloon Fest enthusiast. She said the atmosphere is all about family.

“You never come back or you’re hooked for life,” she said.

The childhood fascination with balloons was evident from the smiles of amusement on the faces of people of all ages.

“Who doesn’t like a balloon?” Taylor said.

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The Taylors said they will also fly in the Sandy Hot Air Balloon Festival August 10-11. The balloons will launch at Storm Mountain Park in Sandy between 6:30-8:00 a.m. both days.

The second day, Saturday, will also feature music, entertainment, and balloon flying around dusk. More information on the event can be found at


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