Western PA Balloon Quest organizer Louis Merryman was hoping for good luck and good weather for the annual hot air balloon festival.

Now, he’s hoping for a little divine intervention, too. 

While carnival rides began on Wednesday, the hot air balloon portion of the festival was to begin Thursday night with night glow, when each balloon is lit up and looks like a giant luminary, orchestrating with a DJ’s music for a fun night. Those plans changed because of nearby storms, meaning only the baskets and burners without the balloon envelope were part of the “candlelight” event.

“We need some prayers for good weather this weekend,” Merryman said while addressing the large crowd. 

While there were some audible groans, the rest of the crowd watched the show as Balloon Quest officially made its return after last year’s cancellation. Elsewhere at Scotland Meadows Park were food vendors and carnival rides with long lines snaking through the area. 

Flights from 19 balloons are scheduled to take off Friday evening from 6 to 7 p.m., Saturday and Sunday morning from 6 to 7 a.m. and Saturday night from 6 to 7 p.m. Pyrotecnico fireworks are set for 10 p.m. Saturday. The launches are under a strict set of safety rules that take into account wind direction and nearby storms.

psirianni@ncnewsonline.com

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Pete Sirianni is the News' assistant editor and digital editor. He is a proud Indiana University of Pennsylvania graduate, earning a degree in journalism and public relations. Contact him at psirianni@ncnewsonline.com or on Twitter at @PeterSirianni.

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