Smokey Bear Balloon will welcome eclipse viewers at Big Spring 

VAN BUREN, Mo. — Experience two rare events at once on April 8 when the Smokey Bear balloon and a total solar eclipse will both be visible in the sky above Big Spring —and visitors can get much, much closer to the Smokey Bear balloon than the sun or moon!

How about some solar eclipse trivia? 

The sun is roughly 865,000 miles in diameter and 91,411,000 miles from Earth. 

The moon is 2,159 miles across and 238,900 miles away. 

At a much more tangible size is the Smokey Bear balloon— it is 97 feet tall and 72 feet across its hat brim and will be within arm’s reach as it prepares to ascend about 50 feet above the ground.

This unique hot air balloon will be traveling to Ozark National Scenic Riverways (ONSR) in early April from Albuquerque, N.M., courtesy of Mark Twain National Forest and the National Park Service. 

The Smokey Bear hot air balloon will glow at Big Spring on the evening of April 6, weather permitting.

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