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Gracefully drooping power lines frame a quintet of balloons floating over the Walla Walla Valley with the Marcus Whitman Hotel and Conference Center in the foreground on a sunny and near perfectly still spring morning. The annual Walla Walla Balloon Stampede brings balloons and tourists from around the country filling hotel beds early in the spring. Friday, May 7, 2010

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Greenpark Elementary School students and their parents scramble closer, one even crawling across the ground to watch and wave as the Checkmate balloon takes off from the Greenpark field Friday morning.


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