By Carla Allen
THE COAST GUARD
It wasn’t entirely unusual for Paula Smith to find remnants of a flying object in her Shag Harbour backyard. After all, her late father-in-law, Lawrence Smith, was one of the men that went out to investigate the famous UFO incident in the area in 1967. However this tattered white balloon landed with considerably less excitement.
Smith was laying brush around the garden and fixing up a tree to feed birds when she spotted something on the ground.
Concerned that her dog might get a hold of it and choke, she walked over and picked it up.
The shredded balloon, about the size of a golf ball, had printing on it. “When I looked at it, I thought, ahhh… a mayor… I wonder where this came from?” she said.
Her son, Jared, researched the names (Mayor Nicholas J. Sacco, and commissioners Hugo Cabrera, Theresa Ferraro, Frank Gargiulo, and Allen Pascual) on the Internet and discovered the town they were associated with: North Bergen, in New Jersey - 750 kilometers away as the balloon flies.
Smith was intrigued. “I was born here but raised in the United States, so it was interesting. I’d visited New Jersey on school trips,” she said.
Mayor Nicholas J. Sacco says the story of the wayward balloon, one of 2,400 released during the annual Winterfest celebration on Dec. 4., was “fascinating.” “You’re telling me a white balloon is in Nova Scotia with my name on it?” he laughed.
Smith found the balloon on Dec. 29.
Mayor Sacco says close to 10,000 people attended the celebration during which there were choruses performing, a parade, characters, rides, and a horse and buggy, over a six-block area in the town of 60,000. “That’s an amazing balloon,” said Mayor Sacco.
New Jersey balloon brings holiday greetings to Shag Harbour
By Carla Allen
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