Liralen Li (liralen) wrote,
Liralen Li

Balloon Fiesta

This is the first Balloon Fiesta where they actually had the balloons going up every day, and today was no different, though the weather had changed from being as high as in the 60's in the morning to the 40's this morning. Since it was pretty cold, we all bundled up.

Jet was raring to go and excited even with the very, very early wake up call at 4:45 am.

Cathie had coffee ready, and we all blearily piled into their Volkswagen bus and went the crowded way to the Balloon Fiesta fields. We snaked through line after line after line, and parked just as the Dawn Patrol floated away into the dark. They're the first balloons up and pay for the privilege, and it was amazing to watch them float away, glowing with the occasional blast of propane fueled flames.

They glowed like jewels in the darkness.

Just a dozen of them. We got down to the field before the let any of the other balloons fly. The first lines of balloons for the Mass Ascension were laid out and we walked in closer and closer. Cathie was going to try and get us all to the Intel breakfast, but we kept getting drawn to the balloons.

They're always so big. Enormous.

There isn't anything else like it. Hundreds of balloons, all laid out next to each other and as they are cold filled on the ground, they gradually billow higher and higher. Blasts and blasts of hot air from flames 10 feet tall, and they start to fill and then the whole crew has to work to tilt the basket upright, get the balloon above it and all the time they're blasting flames into the silk skin of the thing.

Heading Up
Thing is at Fiesta it's not just one balloon, it's an entire line of them all going up at the same time. All so close together that they lean and jostle each other on their ways up. An entire wall of silk in a thousand hues, and the umpire whistles start blowing, and their crews jockeyed the first line into position.

While they were preparing the very first wave, two balloons went up with US Flags on them, and a lady sang the National Anthem. A lot of little helium balloons, the ones kids usually get, were all released at once, to Jet's delight. Everyone cheered, and then the balloons started going up, two or even three at a time. The umpires kept people from colliding, and they usually kept at least a whole balloon between two that were going up at the same time.

It always amazes me how well the coordination goes when there are so many balloons in the sky. The Umpires are called Zebras, as they're all in black and white. It was funny, this year, to learn about the Zebras In Training, or the ZITs. It sounds like a really interesting job, as you really have to be able to see everything around the balloon that is about to go up, and tell them when it's okay to go. The idea is to just make it so that everyone has the room they need, but not take too long so that the other balloons that are filled have to wait too long in place. The jostling on the ground is hard on the fabric of the balloons, too.

There were dozens of lines of them, walls that floated up and then the balloons behind them would start to fill, and then they'd go up, a wave from the middle of the field back, and one from the front of the field back. So two sets of balloons always, constantly being released. All the jostling rows were beautiful and interspersed with some of the special shapes. A Tweety Bird here, a Sponge Bob there. The bust of Smokey the Bear, Humpty Dumpty, a Haunted House, the big Witch in greens, and even Arabelle, the big cow balloon, all went up amid the others.

I was snapping pictures everywhere. *laughs* The people we were with were doing so as well. There is a reason Kodak is one of the biggest sponsors of the Fiesta. They do well at these things.

click on any of the pictures in this entry and you'll get to some of the pictures that I took. We have hundreds more, but I hesitate to put them all up on their connection. I might put more up once we're home. There's one video I took of a bunch of balloons getting released, and a few blasts from the propane burners. It's quite the sound.

When the sky was so full of balloons I thought it looked like an entire bunch just let loose into the sky, it was just fun to watch. We tried to get to the Intel tent most of the morning, and only managed it right before it closed. We got food, got pins, and Jet got a toy he played with for a while. And by the time we were done, it was only 8:15 am. *laughs* I thought about shopping a little, but ended up just not getting anything there. We went back to the house, and I just fell over into a two hour nap.

I was real bleary getting up, but managed a shower, and tried to help a little with preparing for Rostyfest, but I know John and Jet and the other guests did far more than I did. Walt worked with Jet to make a wooden car, and they used the band saw, the hand drill, the sander, and all kinds of things to design a car according to Jet's drawings.

Jet is meticulous with the work, and he and Walt worked really well together.

The party was great! Wonderful food, very interesting people, and Jet had my bucky balls to play with and show people. Everyone enjoyed that. After dinner and when the crowd had thinned and the fire pit was burning in the backyard, Jet and Walt went back to the garage and finished of Jet's car.

It was nice to just sit by the fire and talk with people, watch the Afterglow Fireworks in the sky, and settle.
Tags: travel

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