SEP 17 & 18, 2021

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Online VIP ticket sales are closed. A limited number of tickets will be available at the event.


Pilot Profile

Dean Carlton

Danville, IL

Balloon Name: Wagz

Dean Carlton is a commercial pilot from Danville, Illinois. Dean and the Ca-Zoo crew starting flying balloons in 1997. His local crew consists of a large extended family and a close association of friends (the Danville Balloon Group) that crew together for 6 local balloonists. Ballooning is a family affair for this group, as his son Ryan and sister Donna Vish are also commercial pilots, and his wife Angela and daughter Kelli crew for all the balloons.

Dean is flying WAGZ, a special shape Golden Retriever pup who is brand new this year. The Carlton family have 2 Goldens at home, and has now added one in the air. Wagz enjoys spending time with kids of all ages.

Dean is also the founder of the annual Les Nessman Memorial Turkey Drop event held each Thanksgiving in Danville, in which rubber “turkeys” are dropped from balloons onto targets, in “WKRP in Cincinnati” style. In 2002 Dean had the opportunity to take Captain James Lovell, Jr., commander of Apollo 13, for his first balloon flight.

When not in the air, Dean is a commercial real estate developer for Heritage Development Services Company.