June 28, 2014 at 1:00 am

Balloonfest fills sky over Howell with color

The 30th annual Michigan Challenge Balloonfest in Howell launched Friday and continues through Sunday.

Forty-three balloons, with pilots from throughout Michigan as well as Illinois, Ohio, Missouri and Tennessee, are scheduled to compete.

I know this is something they talk about all year, said Nancy Johnson of Howell, a nine-year Balloonfest veteran whose balloon, Mardi, was imported from New Orleans famous Mardi Gras.

Balloon launch and fly-in times are scheduled fo 6-8 a.m. and 6-8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Jaymie Fernley of Brighton and daughter Chloe, 6, take a picture during the Michigan Challenge Balloonfest in Howell on June 27, 2014. Balloonfest is a three-day event on the Howell High School grounds that includes a balloon competition, carnival, arts and crafts, skydivers, live music and a balloon glow Saturday night. / Mark Bialek / Special to The Detroit News