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