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Prince Lives On with Tribute Concert

Prince - Dan Lacey, Artist
St. Paul, Minn. – A pre-party outside the Xcel Energy Center was filled with purple by Prince’s loyal fans followed by a five-hour concert giving an emotionally packed tribute to Prince’s legacy.  St. Paul’s Mayor Chris Coleman declared Prince Day, Governor Mark Dayton declared Prince Tribute Day in State of Minnesota and Mayor Betsy Hodges gave declaration to Prince Day October 13, 2016.  Over 18,000 fans filled the Xcel Energy Center to be a part of the celebration of a life cut short to early.  Videos embraced a number of highlights of Prince and his music but the initial video shared the anonymous way that Prince gave to many people that had hit hard times or were disadvantage and showed Prince was a strong advocate for women.  Prince’s view captured his feelings with the statement, “We need to work together.”   President Barack Obama brought his statement to the forefront that all the fans cheered, “You’ll be in our hearts forever.”


Stevie Wonder headlined the tribute with “Someday We’ll All Be Free, Raspberry Beret, Superstition.”  Chaka Khan and Wonder joined together with “I Feel For You” and “1999.”  The celebration featured artists such as Mint Condition group, The Time with Morris Day dressed in a signature yellow suit; singing and dancing to “Jungle Love.”  The backup band, The New Power Generation led by Morris Hayes on keyboard, was on stage for the majority of the evening.  British star Jessie J, Tori Kelly, Marva King, Judith Hill, Elisa Fiorillo Dease, Andre’ Cymone,  Luke James, Nicole Scherzinger were among the performers.  Prince’s ex-wife, Mayte Garcia choreographed a belly dance with a sword and the evening concluded as all gathered on stage to “Purple Rain,” confetti and Prince’s pre-recorded vocals.

Chris Young headlines Music Festival at Balloon Fiesta

Chris Young
Albuquerque, New Mexico – Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta closed the weekend with a Music Fiesta with headliner Chris Young packing in thousands on an open arena.  A special grandstand was finished just in time as a rainstorm passed through the balloon-launching field.  Chris Young performed and kept the crowd engaged as he sang his hits.  Young asked, “where are the single people,” and told about a couple that had gotten married that were very close to him and he played their first dance, “Who I Am with You.”  Young has been nominated and won several awards including winner of USA Network’s program Nashville Star. 


Parmalee and Sim Balkey from New Mexico performed the earlier acts before headliner Chris Young.  After the performance the pilots went to the field and prepared for the Special Shapes “AfterGlow” and followed with fireworks.

The Albuquerque International Balloon – let the games begin

Albuquerque, New Mexico – The green light was given for the balloons that were entered in the competition to drive off the field to an exterior location and get ready for the final radio transmission to go.  Gauging the upper level wind direction to approach the competition field is something that pilots can only anticipate from the ground.  Once the pilots are up in the air there is the continual movement of an up and down pattern to reach the field and hover over the target.  If the pilot is not able to reach the field target he or she will proceed to continue in flight to reach the precision of a beautiful flight and a safe landing.


Frank Hunter flew “Aimless Drifter” with perfection and just edged north of the Albuquerque field target.  The “box” that Albuquerque is known for was rather soft pushing a lot of the balloons to the north of the competition drop.  Hunter achieved a flawless landing on side of a main road close to the Tram exit.  Flight and landing were perfect on what turned out to be a beautiful day.  The crew that consisted of Frank Hunter’s friends and family arrived within moments of the landing.  Packing up the balloon Hunter and the crew headed back to the field to set up grilling and share food and time with numerous other pilots that flew in the morning.  Robert Browman and Nicole from the Albuquerque Journal were in the area and covered the precise landing of Pilot Frank Hunter. Check out their video.

Flight of the Nations – Balloon Fiesta

Albuquerque, New Mexico – Mass Ascension for Flight of the Nations lifted off early Wednesday morning with nearly 600 balloons.  The winds allowed the “box” to form that Albuquerque is so famous for.  The higher elevation had stronger winds that did not allow the competition portion of the balloons to come from outside the field to complete the task for a second day in a row.


America’s Challenge Gas Balloon race launch was held off for a day because of impending weather that they would encounter as the winds would float them eastward.  A meeting at noon on Thursday will determine if they would inflate Thursday for launching. Special Shape Rodeo balloons will be launching Thursday morning at 7:00 am.  The evening will have a Laser light show, After Glow and fireworks.

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

Albuquerque, New Mexico – Over a million people are expected to enjoy the 45th Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta with hundreds of balloons participating.  Jeff Haliczer launched his balloon “Synchronicity” during the middle of the first wave.  Haliczer is also known for flying his special shape balloons; High Top Flier and Off the Wall.  Haliczer has been flying for years throughout the country and has flown over in the Philippines.  Bandit, a dog that has taken over 100 flights and accompanies Haliczer when he visits schools to show children the excitement of Hot Air Ballooning was on the Mass Ascension Saturday.  Precision of the flight during Mass Ascension Saturday allowed participation of a successful “Splash and Dash” over the river and a perfectly smooth landing.


Hundreds of balloons launched early Saturday morning on what turned out to be a beautiful warm day.  Dawn Patrol lifted off 6:00 AM for checking out the winds aloft.  A Laser Light Show followed and the Krispy Kreme Morning Glow preceded the Mass Ascension of hundreds of balloons.  The evening encompassed Balloon Glow followed by a Laser Light Show and a full array of fireworks. Sunday is expected to be another perfect day with a full schedule.

Western Minnesota Steam Threshers Reunion 63rd

Rollag, Minnesota – Labor Day Weekend has been the tradition for thousands of admirers to come out and view the passion of many that restore steam threshers, tractors and other farm equipment.  The site was over 200 acres in size with a train around the perimeter for people to ride.  The Western Minnesota Steam Threshers Reunion celebrated 63 years of large gatherings of families with some equipment over 100 years old. 


Minneapolis was the feature this year with adding to the large existing showcasing with over 22 steam engines and the progression to gas equipment.  The weekend also was filled with blacksmithing demonstrations, threshing area, largest coal-fired Steam Shovel that is still operating, square dancing.  Each day there were two parades with a large lineup of fully operating steam threshers as well as horse-powered demonstrations.

WE Fest closes with Headliner Tim McGraw and Steven Tyler

Tim McGraw
Detroit Lakes, Minnesota – There was no doubt the closing night of WE Fest validated why multi-thousands take their vacation to attend the annual festival for a full weekend of top-notch entertainers.  Saturday evening headliner Tim McGraw came on the stage following Steven Tyler’s performance.  McGraw took hold of the fans as he came out wearing his infamous cowboy hat and showing he’s definitely working out to keep in shape and proving why he’s at the top of the charts with his music.  McGraw has been taking awards from the 1990’s to most recent 2014 from People’s Choice Awards for Country Music Icon and most recently 2016 CMT Music Awards for Video of the Year – “Humble and Kind.”


Steven Tyler an icon in the industry beginning with the rock band Aerosmith and showed his expansive talents with his first solo country album “Were all Somebody from Somewhere.”  “Steven Tyler with The Loving Mary Band” performed opening act “Sweet Emotion” from his Aerosmith side and his concert comprised of rock and country that the fans really loved.  Tyler walked out on stage pulling his long white microphone dressed with the flair and look that fans expected and unending energy that kept everyone on their feet’s dancing.  2017 Lineup announced - so far -  Headliners are Luke Bryan and Zac Brown.

WE Fest headliner Eric Church

Eric Church
Detroit Lakes, Minn. – Headliner Eric Church walked out on a full open spaced stage with intense attention grabbing lighting to a filled capacity open arena at Soo Pass Ranch in Detroit Lakes, Minn.  The crowd was on their feet the whole time embracing Eric Church as he played hits including “Mr. Misunderstood” that was nominated Album of the Year - won Video of The Year 2016 at ACM awards.  Other songs fans loved; Drink in My Hand, Give Me Back My Hometown, Springsteen and more top hits.  Last week “Record Year” was on the top Billboard’s chart making this Church’s No. 1 for the fifth time.

Earlier in the evening a great lineup of strong top-notch performers were on the main stage Lee Brice, Joe Nichols, LoCash, and Amanda Watkins.  Friday evening headliner Kid Rock will be on the main stage with earlier performers to be Billy Currington, Montgomery Gentry, Granger Smith, and William Michael Morgan. 

BOSTON 40th Anniversary Tour

Walker, Minnesota – BOSTON played to a fully packed arena at Moondance Jam 25.  The 25th anniversary for Moondance Jam 25 had a non-stop music festival for the weekend and is known as one of the top country music festivals. Multi-thousands of fans came out to hear the top musicians from all over the world.  BOSTON’s performance was cut short because of a huge lightning storm that was passing through the area after some very hot and humid days.  Safety for the bands and fans reign top priority and the right decision was made.  The crowd at the open arena was able to hear part of the performance and grasp the high quality and energy that the band brought.  The minute BOSTON walked on stage and hit their first note you knew what had kept BOSTON music still a huge game player and keeping a command on the music today.


The 1970 and 1980s brought huge success for the band Boston with Tom Scholz as an innovator, composer and lead for the group that was formed in Boston, Massachusetts.  Sales worldwide reach over 75 million records.  The first album was “Boston” and hits that remain today ranging from the iconic 1976 “More Than A Feeling.”  The 40th Anniversary Tour will be playing the country with over 50 shows in 100 days. Band members at Moondance Jam 25: Tom Scholz, Tracy Ferrie, Jeff Neal, Tommy DeCarlo, Beth Cohen, Gary Pihl.

“Chicago” at Moondance Jam 25

Walker, Minnesota - “Chicago” the band was the headliner for Friday night at Moondance Jam 25.  They came on to the stage with a strong entrance and did not stop.  The open-air venue was a perfect evening to a huge crowd that filled every spot that was available.  Earlier “Loverboy” gave a full energized performance as well “Little River Band” and “Foghat.”  Saturday evening headliner will be “Boston.”


“Chicago” was a full package with horns, Keyboard, percussion section and guitars that completed their picture for Rock ‘n’ Roll.  The band has been performing for 50 years with over 100 million records, 36 albums and over 20 Top 10 singles.  The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction took place this April.  There was no holding back as they left the stage Friday evening to thousands of fans that embraced the high energy that “Chicago” gave.  Many of the fans walked away saying “Wow!”

Fargo AirSho featuring Blue Angels

Fargo, ND - The Blue Angels gave an unbelievable performance as they are noted for to a record-breaking crowd.  Weather was hot by the end show on Sunday without a cloud in the sky.  History was made this year when the Blue Angels took flight with the first time having a woman in the cockpit.  U.S. Marine Corps Captain Katie Higgins was the first female pilot in a 69-year history. 
The U.S. Navy Blue Angels flew Boeing F/A 18 Hornet fighter jets.  The Blue Angels are the national first oldest flight team and world wide the second oldest flight team.

Albuquerque Balloon Ascension and Competition

Albuquerque, New Mexico – Monday was the third day that the International Balloon Fiesta gave a go to the mass ascension.  The sky was cloudy but the winds were right to be given the green light to ascend.  Cliff Keller was the pilot of balloon “Lily” and lifted off on the second wave thinking at first the flight might be short but lasted way over an hour with a great landing that encompassed his thirty plus years of experience and teamwork with his wife Jude.  The Chase Crew was made of members that have been with the Keller's for years creating lasting friendships and trust.


Rolling Stones at TCF Bank Stadium “Satisfaction”

Minneapolis, MN - Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones rocked the TCF Bank Stadium with over 50,000 fans.  The rain stopped minutes before the Rolling Stones took the stage and fans stood throughout the two hour plus concert absorbing music that the band has been performing over 53 years.  Mick Jagger remains strong with his iconic dance form that everyone has become accustomed to seeing along with playing the harmonica to “Midnight Rambler.” 


New York Spring Spectacular 2015

Donald & Melania Trump
  New York City - The Red Carpet was lined with celebrities before Radio City Music Hall opened up a seven-week performance.  New York Spring Spectacular takes audiences on a whirlwind adventure across New York City while telling an inspiring and hopeful narrative about New Yorkers who change each other’s lives in unexpectedly wonderful ways. 
Tony Award-winner Laura Benanti, Emmy Award-winner and current pro on Dancing With the Stars, Derek Hough; Lenny Wolpe; Jared Grimes and the Rockettes will be joined by co-creative directors Diane Paulus and Randy Weiner on the red carpet.

Moondance jammin Country Fest weekend

Justin Moore
Walker, MN – A temperamental weather pattern gave way to a large double rainbow over the main arena as Moondance jammin Country Fest was in full swing with a packed arena of fans.  Friday went off like clockwork with the well-defined organization that Moondance has been noted for.  Entertainers began with Dallas Smith, Jon Pardi, Rodney Atkins and Justin Moore.  Saturday will be filled with performances by Lost Highway, Sarah Darling, Joe Nichols and Hunter Hayes.

Obama in New York Fundraising

New York – President Obama landed in New York on Air Force One and was immediately greeted by a small group of people before boarding Marine One to attend two fundraisers.  Along the route Obama made a brief stop at a Gap store to shop for his wife, Michelle and daughters Malia and Sasha.  Gap Inc. is a business that responded to Obama’s request at the State of the Union address to increase wages.


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