Sandy sky full of hot air, but in a good wayFeb 07, 2022 02:35PM ● By Heather Lawrence
Chick-fil-A hot air balloon seen over Sandy’s skies in January. (Heather Lawrence/City Journals)
By Heather Lawrence | [email protected]
Residents in Sandy, Draper and West Jordan who looked to the sky on Jan. 15 might have seen a cow and her chauffeur in a hot air balloon. It was the Chick-fil-A balloon, which is shared by local Chick-fil-A restaurants. It’s piloted several times a year by “Tim the Balloon-man” and a costumed cow co-pilot.
“We nicknamed the balloon Chickie, and I think she brings a smile to people’s faces,” said Holly Curby, director of Community and Culture for Utah’s Chick-fil-A restaurants. Launches take place on a regular basis from different stores, who each get a certain number of launches per year.
“It’s really fun when people come in for breakfast on a day when we’re going to launch. We launch from a store, always really early. People can come over and check out the balloon, take pictures and see what it takes to get it in the air,” Curby said.
The balloon is always piloted by the same man, Tim. “Our pilot Tim is really good. He’s great at engaging with people, and he likes to do ‘hops’ where he lands in different places and surprises people,” Curby said.
On Jan. 15, it looked as though the balloon might land on top of the Mountain America corporate building near Sandy City Hall, but Curby said Tim draws the line at landing on buildings.
“He thinks it’s fun to pass right by places, getting really close and making them think he might land there. But he’d never land on a building, no matter how close he gets,” Curby said.
“Tim likes to make it a fun adventure every time he’s in the balloon. He knows just where he can land, and he’ll just take it down in a neighborhood somewhere and surprise people, then hand out some free things. It’s a great way to engage with the community,” Curby said.
This time around the balloon launched from the West Jordan location and made stops at the South Town and Draper restaurants. People are welcome to greet the balloon when it lands, and will likely get some free stuff: T-shirts, cow ears and meal vouchers. If it’s the final landing of the day, you’ll see how they take down the balloon.
Chickie the balloon has also flown in the Sandy Hot Air Balloon Festival and been in the Balloon Glow the night of the festival. The daytime festival and launch is normally held at Storm Mountain Park. At the Glow, balloons are lit up at night on the Promenade at Sandy City Hall. Chick-fil-A associates pass out lots of freebies that night, too.
If you missed seeing the big red hot air balloon in January, don’t worry, launches happen several times a year. “We are grateful to have the balloon here in Utah, and we love engaging with the community in such a fun way,” Curby said.