It's August and the temperature is rising above triple digits here in the Lone Star State.  In the "Land of Enhatchment" the heat is cranked up even more in celebration of 22 years as the "hatchiest place on Earth" at Central Market.  Last Thursday local pilot Scott Vesely inflated and tethered the InTouch Credit Union hot air balloon in the parking lot at the Central Market location at 320 Coit Road in Plano.
Plano Balloon Festival Crew for the InTouch Credit Union Hot Air Balloon
The crew started laying it out at 5:00 p.m. and quickly had the balloon up and swaying in the warm breeze. Families drove up to buy groceries but took time to take pictures and ask questions about the balloon, festival, and activities for kids.  Everyone who walked up received at least one complimentary general admission ticket to the 2017 InTouch Credit Union Plano Balloon Festival being held September 22-24 at Oak Point Park.

InTouch Credit Union
The Plano Balloon Snapchat story captures the colorful two hours at Central Market with the InTouch Credit Union and the remarkable experience shared with the community.

In addition to the festival preview, the afternoon also featured a drawing for 20 photographer badges to be randomly selected by the InTouch Credit Union team. The contest was previously promoted on Facebook and photographers were invited to submit one image to be tossed in the brass drum.

The drawing took place at exactly 7:00 p.m. and many of the photographers were on-site with hopes of winning.  The badge includes a weekend pass, VIP parking, and most importantly - access to the launch field for a magnificently up-close photo experience. Many photographers dream of standing inside the balloon with their camera or underneath the basket as it ascends into the air.  This video is a live stream of the names as they were pulled from the drum.

Congratulations to the 20 photographers who will receive the 2017 Media Badges for the InTouch Credit Union Plano Balloon Festival and they are as follows:  Artist German, Bobette Mauck, Carlos Velazquez, Christian Newkirk, Dev Ojha, Hemant Ojha, Galen Johnson, Betty Doller, Herb Doller, Joanne Whitaker, Juan Samuel Barajas, Katherine Moulton, Kathy Ledzius, Kelly Kennedy, Ken Tse, Linfen Hwang, Marc Ira Hooks, Paul Gray, Randy Ratzlaff, and Sandy Grayson.

Local photographers at Central Market in Plano for the Live Drawing 
Thank you to everyone who submitted an entry to participate in the drawing this year. The winners have been notified via email and packages will be mailed to the address provided at the time of entry.  Special thanks to Central Market and InTouch Credit Union for their continued support of our event.

For more information about the festival please visit www.planoballoonfest.org #PlanoBalloon
Cooper Jackson seated in the InTouch Credit Union vehicle.