Monday, August 28, 2006

Balloon festival!

Saturday husband J and I went to the hot-air balloon festival in nearby Lincoln, Illinois. It's an annual event there, but you don't see stuff like that around otherwise, and we'd never gone, so this year, why not. It was cheap, it was a nice drive, and it was neat. I don't know anything about either ballooning or science (hot air rises?), so if you do, please have patience. But it was very nifty. There was some delay and question whether they'd inflate, as 'weather' was moving through, and it did rain a bit, but they did end up inflating, although only a few actually took off. But we were allowed to mingle freely among them and watch the whole process, so I put together a kind of timeline of it in photo form - 17 after the cut. J said the coolness stemmed from how it managed to be old-fashioned and simple, yet kind of techy too. Plus everyone likes fire. The fire blasts were loud, and also hot, like when (in olden times) you'd go to a concert and feel the heat from the pyro blasts. anyhoo.

We noticed in the paper that one of the pilots was named Jerry Garcia. We also noticed that one of the crews was lookin’ sharp all in matching tie-dye. Sadly, this was not the Garcia crew! However, we decided that a tie-dye balloon would have been righteous.

The balloons got unloaded out of surprisingly small packages and unfolded along the ground for inflation.

I’d assumed it would be a huge, intricate thing to inflate them and would take a loooong time. No, you just set up a fan and let ‘er rip, apparently.

You got yer basket; you got yer fan.

It turns into a giant cave that seriously tempts one into running inside it.

A bunch of them began to inflate

and then began to erect. I’m just guessing that the fan blows regular air into them for size and shape and the hot air from the torch blasts is what makes them, you know, floaty.

Each balloon has a guide wire or tether thing controlled by crew members as it turns to stand upright.

Everyone likes fire.

We have liftoff!

Sadly, not many of them flew because of weather and dusk. I’d have liked more pictures of them aloft.

However, we were allowed to walk freely among them, which was neat, and also like being in a room full of elephants, in a way.

The funny with this one has got to be unintentional, but woah.

This is the coolest balloon ever. I hope you can see the Pink Floyd thing as well as the peace thing.

As it got dark, they looked awesome illuminated by the torches.

Then it got dark, and they took them down not long after, and we went home.

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