Plain City man pilots hot air balloon at Marysville festival

Last updated: August 18. 2014 7:37PM - 96 Views
By - bsemler@civitasmedia.com

Gingerich's balloon, “Solitary Freedom,” floats above the Union County Airport.
Gingerich's balloon, “Solitary Freedom,” floats above the Union County Airport.
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Thousands of feet above ground is where Joe Gingerich said he can really find peace.

“You really have no noise,” he said.

Gingerich, 46, of Plain City, is a hot air balloon pilot. He flew in the All Ohio Balloon Festival in Marysville over the weekend, and said he always enjoys flying with others that share his passion.

“It’s nice to have a group of us flying together,” he said.

The festival took place Aug. 14-16 at the Union County Airport, and featured 17 balloonists soaring in a variety of colors, shapes and designs. Attendees participated in helicopter, airplane and balloon rides at the festival, which also included musical entertainment and food vendors.

All Ohio Balloon Fest started in 1975. About 30,000 people attend the annual event each summer, according to the official website.

Gingerich has participated in the festival about twelve years.

Beginning his aviation endeavours around 2000, Gingerich started out as a crew member for a friend before realizing he truly enjoyed the hobby.

“That’s when I said, ‘Hey, I want to do this,’” he said.

Gingerich began flying as a pilot soon after, attaining his licence in 2002. He said his balloon typically floats about 2,500 feet off the ground.

Members of his crew vary flight to flight, ranging from neighbors to youth from his church. He currently flies “Solitary Freedom,” a red and white balloon.

One of the festival’s best moments is always the glow, Gingerich said, where the burners in the basket of the balloon are much brighter than usual, illuminating the night sky.

“It’s like a giant, colorful light bulb,” he said.

Outside of flying, Gingrich works at his family company Gingway Products, a metal fabrication company in Plain City.

In addition to experiencing the peace that only the sky can provide, Gingerich said he also loved sharing the peace with others.

“I enjoy taking people up that have never been up to share the joy with them,” Gingerich said.

Brandon Semler can be reached at (740) 852-1616, ext. 1615 or via Twitter @BrandonSemler.

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