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Wandering balloon wends way from Worcester to Canada

There’s a strange trophy hanging today in a Canadian hunting camp hundreds of miles from Massachusetts: a balloon that escaped from a cluster of its fellows at an event at Becker College in Worcester.

Kevin Daley, 54, of Hanwell, New Brunswick, a physical education teacher at Fredericton High School, found the balloon while he was deer hunting with his 19-year-old son and a group of friends who are former physical education teachers. The group was about five miles from the nearest habitation, in a spot only accessible by four-wheel drive vehicles.

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“I was just out hunting with my son, crossed a beaver dam, and then saw something strange on the ground that was hanging from a bush,” Davey said. “Then we saw it was this balloon from Becker College.”

Deep in the forest primeval, Davey and his son pulled out their iPhones to Google the origin of their unusual find.

“We then saw it was from Worcester and thought that was pretty cool,” Davey said. “We took a picture of it and then sent off an e-mail to the college in case someone was doing an experiment to see how far it traveled or something.”

Back in Worcester — about 360 miles as the crow (or balloon) flies from the hunting camp — Kevin Mayne, Becker’s vice president of enrollment management, told the tale of how one shiny blue-and-silver balloon got away during the college’s fall open house last month.

“For the open house, we obviously decorate the campus with fall items but also put out some decorative balloons,” Mayne said. “I was setting up in the morning and trying to untangle some balloons on a windy day. When I tried to pull them apart, one just slipped away,” Mayne said.

Mayne said the balloon might have been able to make it so far because it was made of Mylar rather than latex.

“We’ve been around for almost 230 years. We’re one of the oldest colleges in the country,” Mayne added. “Like our balloon — it’s as sturdy and resilient as we are.”

Daley says the balloon is now hanging at the hunting camp in some distinguished company.

“It’s hanging up on top of a deer rack next to some mooseheads,” he said.

Sarah N. Mattero can be reached at
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