Balloon ride fundraiser to help pay for students' trip to Olympia

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WALLA WALLA — Pioneer Middle School students are offering tethered rides in a hot-air balloon Saturday to raise funds for an educational trip to Olympia.

The students are asking $25 per person to ride in The Spirit of Walla Walla, the hot air balloon owned and piloted by Jerry Cummins. Cummins has offered to pilot his balloon to support Pioneer students in their fundraising effort. All proceeds from the rides will go toward expenses for an anticipated trip to Olympia this spring where students will go to see state Legislators in action.

Rides are being offered from 9-10:30 a.m. at Pioneer’s baseball field, off of Roosevelt and across from Pioneer Park. The first people to arrive will receive complimentary coffee and pastries. Rides will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis, and will be contingent on good weather.

Pioneer teacher Chris Plucker, who is helping students coordinate the fundraiser and Olympia trip, said students are encouraging families to stop by Saturday morning and watch the balloon go up, even if they don’t go for a ride.

Plucker said students are hoping for about 40 people to take rides, or donate funds that will benefit their trip.

“They are all working hard to get the word out about this event,” Plucker said in an e-mail. He said this was a unique opportunity that people would surely want to take advantage of.

“It isn’t every day that you have the chance to go up in a hot-air balloon.”

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