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Hot air balloons take flight from Des Moines; National Balloon classic begins Friday

Randy Stone, a hot air balloon pilot, explains what the National Balloon Classic is, how he prepares for it and what pilots will be doing this year.

DES MOINES, Iowa — In just a few days, the skies over Indianola will be dotted with more than 100 hot air balloons for the National Balloon Classic

Hot air balloon pilots from all over come to compete for points and prizes, as well as entertain guests. 

To prepare for the event, many pilots flew Monday morning from Water Works Park in Des Moines for Flight Over Des Moines as a test ride.

This year, the nine-day event will be observing 50 years of competitive ballooning in Indianola, which is something they couldn't do last year. 

Randy Stone, a pilot in the event, said some hot air balloons that flew 50 years ago will be in this year's classic. 

"This is a much-cherished event and the entire town wraps their arms around it," National Balloon Classic Executive Director Staci Scheurenbrand said. "It's a big economic boost to our economy, which is very welcomed this year in particular."

The event runs July 30-Aug. 7. Tickets will not be sold at the door, so you much purchase them online.

Watch more "Good Morning Iowa" coverage of the 2021 National Balloon Classic below 

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