John has over 15 years of ballooning experience. John travels to balloon events around WI and enjoys every aspect of the sport. Born and raised in the Wausau area, John also spends a lot of time in Southeastern WI. Johns’s daughter Elizabeth is a student pilot and son Zane is just starting to learn the ropes of being a pilot.
Mark has been ballooning for over fifteen years. Mark responded to a bulletin board ad at work for crew and has been hooked on balloons ever since. Mark is the weather officer for this and many other balloon events. Mark travels to events throughout WI and IL with his family and enjoys sharing his love of the sport with others.
Don has been a balloon enthusiast since he was a kid when balloons would land in the fields near his house, became a crew member in the early 80's, and has been a pilot since the early 2000's. Married into ballooning in 1986 with his in-laws running a balloon repair station and building his balloon, which he named after his mother-in-law who's nickname is "Sam".
Ron has been a balloonist for nearly 35 years. Ron, previously an auto technician started crewing for a guy at work and has been hooked on balloons ever since. Ron, originally from Iowa competes regularly at events in Iowa as well as WI. Ron enjoys ballooning with his family and now as a grandpa sharing his love of the sport with his grandchildren.
John Rucker has been in Ballooning for about 20 years. He started out crewing for a local company and eventually bought his own balloon in 2009. He obtained his private license in 2010 and currently is a commercial pilot. John and his wife Denise travel to many events and own two balloons.
Glenn has over 30 years of flying around Northern Illinois. He has provided thousands of people with the pleasure of balloon flight. Glen attends many events in IL and WI. The RE/MAX Balloon is one of the most recognized corporate symbols on the planet. With nearly 120 hot air balloons in operation, RE/MAX has the largest fleet in the world. The Balloon participating in the 5th Annual Color Aloft Balloon festival is brought to you by RE/MAX agents in the Northern Illinois Region.
Bill started flying gliders when he was 14 and now have over 11,000 total flight hours and is an airline pilot. Bill now has been flying balloons for three years. The Bucher are all very excited about this upcoming event. Be sure to welcome Bill and his family to the event.
Alan has two passions, flying and architecture. When he is not managing his 59-year-old family architectural and design firm, Alan can be found at or near your local airport. Flying for over 40 years, he began flying fixed-wing aircraft in 1973 and discovered ballooning in 1979. Last year completed his 32nd year flying at Balloon Fiesta in New Mexico. With over 10,000 hours of accident-free flying experience to draw on, Alan is often found speaking to aviation groups, instructing and writing safety-related articles, and is involved in teaching the Civil Air Cadets and flying in EAA’s Young Eagles Program. Retired from one of Chicago’s Top 500 Corporations as Chief Pilot, he is type rated in the Citation series of jets, holds single-pilot qualifications, and currently holds six world speed records. Still flying Citations, Alan is certificated as an Airline Transport Pilot, Land & Sea, and Commercial Pilot in Gliders and Balloons. He holds the distinction of being an FAA Designated Pilot Examiner for fixed-wing and balloon operations and is a member of the FAA’s new FAAST Team.
Brad is one of the youngest pilots in Wisconsin. He grew up near the Battle Creek Field of Flight in Battle Creek, MI. This event got Brad hooked on ballooning from an early age. After 10 years of crewing at events across the country, he received his Private Certificate in 2020.
John Trione is the Owner and Chief Pilot of The Lake Geneva Balloon Company, which is celebrating 20 years of providing hot air balloon sightseeing tours over the Geneva Lakes area. John started his career as a balloon pilot in 1997 and has accumulated nearly 1,500 flight hours as a pilot in command in 25 years of flying balloons. John counts the International Balloon Festival in Leon, MX, The Great Forest Park Balloon in St. Louis and the Albuquerque International Balloon Festival in Albuquerque, NM as highlights of his ballooning career. He has attended the Waterford Balloon Festival many times and is happy to be back this year.
A Balloonist since 1988, Ken has logged over 2000 piloting hours. Ken is the owner of Wind Dancer Balloon promotions in Waukesha, Wisconsin, which organizes balloon events, provides advertising/promotional opportunities & offers passenger flights. Wind Dancer Balloon Promotions is also an authorized dealer for Lindstrand Balloons. Ken is flying for his corporate client RE/MAX. Ken has been flying the RE/MAX corporate contract in Wisconsin and Minnesota for 20 years.
Waterford Town Park
Please note the best time to see the ballons is at the mass ascension launch scheduled to start at 6 pm.