I have always thought hot air balloons are so beautiful. That's why I was so excited to hear about the hot air balloon festival that is held annually in our town. The festivities began on Friday night where visitors had a chance to check out all of the balloons. On this night, the balloons stayed tethered to the ground with very expensive rides offered to those who wished to float up to the end of the tether. There was also a craft fair and a live band who tried their best to recapture some of the classic 80s rock I grew up on. The evening culminated with a fireworks show that rivaled, if not beat, any I have seen at Disney or elsewhere.
The special weekend continued the next day with a 6am launch of the balloons. Since we were up rather late the night before, I chose to sleep in on Saturday morning. However, the launch was repeated Sunday morning at 6am, and both girls wanted to join me for this special event. I tiptoed into each of their rooms and awakened them at 5:30, and we headed over. For such an early event, I did not expect the crowds that were there, but we were able to easily find a parking spot nonetheless.
When we first got there, the balloons were all still laying on the ground while their owners performed various checks and worked to hook up the baskets and other paraphernalia necessary to launch. It was still dark, so the ballooners had plenty of time. It was interesting to watch all of the preparations underway.
Finally, as dawn began to break, first one balloon and then another began to inflate.
And shortly after that the first balloon launched.
I was a bit disappointed because I had visions of a whole sky full of beautiful balloons, but this one had launched by itself with no others even close to launching. I thought perhaps there was a certain amount of space required between launch, both in time and space. However, that theory proved wrong, and I got my wish because soon many of the balloons began to launch one right after the other. It was indeed beautiful.
After most of the balloons had launched, and it was nearing time to get ready for church anyway, the girls and I left. Of course we had one more stop to make: Starbucks where I had promised the girls a special treat.
I don't ordinarily wake up before the sun does, but it was definitely a worthwhile experience and one I will encourage even the boys to do with us next year. And perhaps next year I might find a way to fulfill an item on my bucket list and go for an actual hot air balloon ride!