ClovisFest Hot Air Balloon Fun Fly launches “2023 ClovisFest”

Photo by Destiny De La Cruz, Clovis Roundup

September 22, 2023 – Early Friday morning, the media was invited to see a few of the hot air balloons launch in preparation for ClovisFest.

Noble Credit Union was a sponsor of the Hot Air Balloon Fun Fly this year. We got a chance to ask Noble’s Chief Marketing Officer, Keri Bennitt why they decided to sponsor the event.

“It’s a really big, fun, family event—but what we love most about it is just how heartwarming and magical it is. When those balloons lift up, it brings so much joy to your heart—and hope for the future. You feel it in the thousands of people who are here, experiencing it at the same time,” said Bennitt.

“And at Noble, we want to inspire hope as well; for people to achieve their financial goals. So, it’s just really an awe inspiring, magical moment that as a community, we all get to share. And it’s fantastic to be a part of that.”

Lisa Oliveira, President & CEO of the Fresno/Clovis Convention & Visitors Bureau, had this to say about this weekend’s event, “ClovisFest is an amazing event to come out and welcome families. It’s a huge regional draw—so we get a lot of people from outside the area that are coming in, getting to see the vendors that we have here. And the weather’s going to be amazing, so we’re really excited to kick off ClovisFest again.”

There were three balloons on Friday morning for the media day, with more for the Noble Credit Union’s official Hot Air Balloon Fun Fly on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Personally, I was able to fly in RE/MAX’s balloon!

David Wakefield was the Chief Pilot, and is the owner of Cheers Aerial Media. He has been ballooning since 1999, and has been a pilot since 2000! Wakefield was knowledgeable, upbeat, and friendly—exactly what you’d want in a pilot.

All of the balloonists and pilots were incredibly kind and welcoming. We were so lucky to have them here for ClovisFest.

When the flight was over, the balloonists got together and recited the balloonist prayer:

“The winds have welcomed you with softness

The sun has blessed you with it’s warm hands

You have flown so high, and so well, that God has joined you in laughter, and set you gently back in the loving arms of Mother Earth

Gentle breezes and soft landings”

The hot air balloons launched from the Clovis Rodeo Grounds, Saturday Sept. 23rd & Sunday Sept. 24th at approximately 6am.

Destiny De La Cruz is a budding journalist with a passion for photojournalism. As a Fresno State alumni, she earned a bachelor's degree in Mass Communication & Journalism, the Film & Media Arts option with a minor in Anthropology. She has an interest in all things film, food, literature & outdoors.