Ambeau is getting fired up for the Hot Air Balloon Festival

Darian Graivshark
Robert Ambeau, Ascension Hot Air Balloon Festival director.

If heights and window seats get your adrenaline pumping, then you want to be sure you make it to the Hot Air Balloon Festival in Gonzales this weekend.

"This year we have a couple special balloons coming from Belgium," Robert Ambeau, festival director said.

Those special balloons are in the shape of two popular Star Wars characters, according to Ambeau.

Hot air balloons can't fly themselves, and thankfully we have people like Robert Ambeau who has been flying for 30 years to be our pilot. His love for every flight is what makes it so special to him.

Not only is Ambeau a wonderful pilot, but he has won some pretty cool awards. In Louisiana, he has won 15 state championships, two championships in Mississippi, and a Southeast Regional title. In 1989, he was named Rookie of the Year.

"There's a competition where hot air balloon pilots do key grabs. We try to grab a key from a ring that is on top of a post on the ground. I have four keys from doing this. Key grabs are harder than making a hole in one," Ambeau said.

Hot air balloons, at 70-foot tall, can carry up to 300 pounds in regards to passengers. These trips are greatly reliant on wind speeds, too, and the ideal wind speed for rides is between five and eight miles per hour.

Ambeau owns three balloons and helps advertise for Coca-Cola, Dr. Pepper, and Cellular One.

The Hot Air Balloon Festival beings Friday, September 21 at 4 p.m. and lasts until 11 p.m., and ends Saturday, September 22, running between 11 a.m. and 11 p.m.

Keep an eye out for Ambeau at the festival!

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