Couple teams up for hot air balloon

By CECILIA GARZA

neighborhoods@columbiamissourian.com

Neighbors step out onto their porch to watch. People passing by look to see what’s going on and park on the curbside to watch.  With a cloudless sky and a breeze that is just right, it’s a hot air balloon day for the Jays.

Kenny Jay begins lift off on the corner of Cedar Lake Dr. and John Garry Dr. as Marianne Jay and others stand watching.

Kenny Jay has been a hot air balloon pilot for more than a year. Around 5:30 Wednesday afternoon, he and two other pilots began lift off on the corner of N. Cedar Lake Drive and John Garry Drive.

In the meantime, I met up with his wife, Marianne Jay, and friend Stacie Brackenberry. We hopped in our cars and began the chase.

“It’s just some pilots out for a joy ride,” Marianne Jay said.

The rest of the crew and I followed her truck as she chased the balloons, navigating the roads to see where the balloon was heading and where it might land.

As crew chief, Marianne Jay headed the chase and communicated via walkie-talkie to her husband. She told him what he could and couldn’t do from our vantage point below.

Kenny Jay lands behind Ashland Manor apartments as Marianne Jay walks up to join him.

Brackenberry is one of the crew. Not a pilot herself but a balloon lover, Brackenberry was chasing a balloon one day until it landed. The people that were piloting the balloon let her help as they loaded up their trailer. Later, they introduced her to the Jays.

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Filed under Columbia-Boone County, Rock Bridge—Green Meadows—Bedford Walk—Cedar Lake

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