Balloon helps celebrate the town of Lincoln

via The News-Gazette

So, what’s the link between Abraham Lincoln and watermelons?

Seth Goodman, a hot air balloon pilot and mayor of Lincoln, Illinois, gets that question a lot when flying his new balloon, Honest Abe, which features a picture of our 16th U.S. President on a watermelon design.

The answer: Lincoln christened the city of Lincoln, Illinois, with a watermelon.

Goodman, a licensed hot air balloon pilot and a real estate professional in Lincoln, is also the mayor of the small central Illinois town.

“So it’s very symbolic for our city,” Goodman said of his unique balloon design, which was completed last fall but the weather wasn’t ideal for flying then. Goodman has flown Honest Abe only a handful of times this year, and the first was in Danville with a few local balloon pilots.

“Danville is probably one of my favorite places to fly,” said Goodman, who will be among the field of 35 pilots at the Balloons Over Vermilion festival July 13-14 at Vermilion Regional Airport north of Danville.

Goodman said he enjoys flying with the Danville area balloon pilots, enjoys the ballooning atmosphere at the festival, adding that the people in the Danville area really enjoy ballooning.

He said he’s really looking forward to this year’s Balloons Over Vermilion event.

“It’s just a lot of fun,” he said.

Goodman said he’s not very competitive, but he won last year’s Splash and Dash, a separate, small event scheduled for July 12, featuring several balloons that fly over Lake Vermilion in Danville, trying to hit a floating target on the water.

He said he got lucky and looks forward to that event, too, so if the weather cooperates, Honest Abe’s first appearance in Danville could be the day before the festival kicks off.

Goodman said people love the watermelon colors, but they’re also confused until he explains the story of his town’s christening by large fruit. 

Then he usually gets compliments, he said.

“They are always kind of fascinated by it,” he said.

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