Middletown’s weird balloons: Hard to fly, pleasing to the eye

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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media preview for the Ohio Challenge hot air balloon festival in Middletown

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

This weekend, a fleet of balloons will take to the sky at the The Ohio Challenge Balloon Festival in Middletown, weather permitting, and immediately recognizable to everyone watching from the ground.

Not all hot air balloons, however, share the familiar orb shape. Some have more unconventional designs, often making them more expensive and difficult to fly but much more interesting to look at.

ExploreMORE: 7 things that will wow you at hot air balloon festival

Here are 10 of the most unique balloons that have appeared at The Ohio Challenge Balloon Festival over the years:

“Claw’D - the Crazy Crab”

Zach Burgess will pilot this balloon at this year’s festival.

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“The Gator”

Doug Grimes will fly this balloon at this year’s festival.

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The Gator is one of the special balloons that will be featured at the Ohio Challenge hot air balloon festival this weekend in Middletown. CONTRIBUTED

Credit: HANDOUT

The Gator is one of the special balloons that will be featured at the Ohio Challenge hot air balloon festival this weekend in Middletown. CONTRIBUTED

Credit: HANDOUT

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The Gator is one of the special balloons that will be featured at the Ohio Challenge hot air balloon festival this weekend in Middletown. CONTRIBUTED

Credit: HANDOUT

Credit: HANDOUT

Elvis

This balloon appeared at the 2016 festival.

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The special-shaped piranha balloon from Brazil and Elvis balloon were inflated for attendees to get a closer look Saturday morning during the Ohio Challenge Hot Air Balloon Festival at Smith Park in Middletown. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

The special-shaped piranha balloon from Brazil and Elvis balloon were inflated for attendees to get a closer look Saturday morning during the Ohio Challenge Hot Air Balloon Festival at Smith Park in Middletown.  NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

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The special-shaped piranha balloon from Brazil and Elvis balloon were inflated for attendees to get a closer look Saturday morning during the Ohio Challenge Hot Air Balloon Festival at Smith Park in Middletown. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Piranha

This balloon from Brazil was inflated at the 2016 festival.

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The special-shaped piranha balloon from Brazil was inflated for attendees to get a closer look Saturday morning during the Ohio Challenge Hot Air Balloon Festival at Smith Park in Middletown. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

The special-shaped piranha balloon from Brazil was inflated for attendees to get a closer look Saturday morning during the Ohio Challenge Hot Air Balloon Festival at Smith Park in Middletown.  NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

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The special-shaped piranha balloon from Brazil was inflated for attendees to get a closer look Saturday morning during the Ohio Challenge Hot Air Balloon Festival at Smith Park in Middletown. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Angry Bird

Gary Moore piloted this balloon from South Africa at the 2015 festival.

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“Jewel”

Doug Grimes inflated this balloon from Brazil at the 2014 festival.

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Jewell the Hummingbird will be one of the special shaped balloons that will appear at this year's Balloon Festival in Middletown.

Credit: Submitted photo

Jewell the Hummingbird will be one of the special shaped balloons that will appear at this year's Balloon Festival in Middletown.

Credit: Submitted photo

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Jewell the Hummingbird will be one of the special shaped balloons that will appear at this year's Balloon Festival in Middletown.

Credit: Submitted photo

Credit: Submitted photo

Scarecrow

This balloon appeared at the 2013 festival.

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“Buzzy”

This two-faced balloon from Brazil appeared at the 2010 festival.

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“The Purple People Eater”

This balloon appeared at the 2010 festival.

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“Lindy”

This balloon appeared at the 2012 and 2013 festivals.

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"Lindy" was only one of a few balloons that got airborne Friday night due to wind as the MidUSA Ohio Challenge Hot Air Balloon Festival got under way for its 10th Anniversary. (Martin Wheeler Photo)

Credit: Martin Wheeler

"Lindy" was only one of a few balloons that got airborne Friday night due to wind as the MidUSA Ohio Challenge Hot Air Balloon Festival got under way for its 10th Anniversary.  (Martin Wheeler Photo)

Credit: Martin Wheeler

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"Lindy" was only one of a few balloons that got airborne Friday night due to wind as the MidUSA Ohio Challenge Hot Air Balloon Festival got under way for its 10th Anniversary. (Martin Wheeler Photo)

Credit: Martin Wheeler

Credit: Martin Wheeler

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