Milford doctor lends his expertise

The Sussex Academy of the Arts and Sciences will have a hot air balloon festival for this fall. With the help of Charles Wagner, the Balloons Over Sussex Festival is coming September 14 and 15 to Delaware Coastal Business park behind the Georgetown airport.

Wagner has had a medical practice in Milton for 35 years and has enjoyed a hot air ballooning hobby for about 30. He organized the Milton Hot Air Balloon Festival throughout the ‘90s, for 13 years, raising money for diabetes research and the Milton Theatre. He discontinued it due to health problems.

“We ended on a good note,” he said.

Wagner continued to enter hot air balloon festivals across the county, attending the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta twice. He’s owned three balloons. His latest is the “Della-Bear,” a blue balloon featuring two yellow teddy bears.

Planned activities include a mass ascension of up to 15 hot air balloons, tethered balloon rides, a walk-about balloon, kids’ activities and food and craft vendors. Also planned is a hot air balloon “glow,” in which all of the balloons, inflated but grounded, light up in the dark.

Rides will be available on a limited schedule for a fee. Hot air balloons are subject to winds, so rides are only available at dawn and dusk. The festival is subject to cancellation due to weather.

“You can only fly balloons at very quiet winds, less than 5 miles per hour,” Wagner said. “Gotta be dry, can’t be raining.”

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