It started when a hot air balloon drifted into the skies over the Post cereal plant in Battle  Creek on a summer day in 1985. The balloon was themed with the familiar face of Tony the Tiger from competitor Kellogg's. That's when the Post employees all unanimously agreed... we need a balloon! The Post Balloon Club was born and two years later, after several fundraising efforts, their dream came true. Post I, a bright red balloon with the Post logo in white, began flying.

It was the first of several balloons as the popular Sugar Bear I started flying some years later. Other balloons like the Maxwell House Can, Post II, Splash I and Cutting Edge Racer eventually joined the fleet among others. Post was now a part of the growing tradition of hot air balloon flying and competition in the Cereal City which first started in 1981. It just so happened that in 1987, the same year Post got its own balloon, the first Battle Creek International Balloon Championship and Airshow was held (now known as the Battle Creek Field of Flight Air Show & Balloon Festival). Post's first balloon event was at the U.S. Nationals and they have participated every year since and along with Battle Creek have flown in Kalamazoo, Jackson, Grand Rapids and Angola, Indiana.

Top Left- Cutting Edge Racer, Bottom Left Splash I, Right- Post II (Courtesy Starr Older)

The original president of the Post Balloon Club board was David Jaques and the group consisted of just a few Post employees. The non-profit organization now consists of several employees, volunteers, pilots and crew members among others. The current president Tyler Jaques, who is also a balloon pilot, took over the club in 2016 when his father passed away.

This year the club decided it was time to celebrate its rich history and they began planning a big event for their past and present members. This weekend (April 20-22), the club and their families will gather for the Post Balloon Club Historic Luau for their 33rd anniversary. The invite only event is taking place at a private residence on Sonoma Lake in East Leroy. The 100 to 150 expected to attend will reminisce and enjoy fellowship, food, fishing, boating, camping, bonfires and, of course, the Post balloons! They will do morning and evening flights so don't be surprised if your treated to seeing some balloons flying in the Battle Creek area. The club also has balloon glows planned and static displays. Assistant Secretary Treasurer Starr Older is putting together a retrospective timeline display that will document the club's history and include relics and newspaper articles.

Courtesy Post Balloon Club

Starr and Tyler invited my wife and I to attend and document the event for 95.3 WBCK. As part of it, we will both enjoy our very first hot air balloon rides Friday night, weather permitting. It is something we have both had on our bucket list for years so to say we are excited is an understatement. Keep an eye out for a follow up blog here this weekend with some photos, videos and interviews from the event and a very special thanks to Starr Older and Tyler Jaques for providing us some info, photos and for inviting us to the event. We hope you all get a good lift out of it. <wink>