Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Balloon Starts With "B"

As usual I am falling behind in posts, but I wanted to share last Saturday's adventure.

My wife learned that there was going to be a hot air balloon festival on Saturday.  It just so happens that last week Kylie and I were studying the letter "b".  The festival was a great way to finish off the week while learning a few things about a craft that is often overlooked.

The festival took place in Cave Creek at Rancho Manana (that's manana, as in the Spanish word for tomorrow...I'm just not setup to add the tilde over the "n").  We started with the KTVK Channel 3 balloon.  The guys were just hanging out waiting for things to get started, so I asked for a closer look at the basket, or the "gondola" as the pros call it.  The gondola pictured below is designed to hold 4 passengers plus a pilot.  This makes for a rather cozy ride.

Kylie liked the bumble bee balloons best.  All of the balloons, including the bees, started out lying flat on the ground.  Then each team began to inflate their balloon using a large fan.

Once the team fills the balloon to a certain point, they fire up the burners, heating the air inside of the balloon to give it buoyancy.  Kylie wasn't too sure about the fire.  At first she was concerned for our safety, but she finally decided that as long as we kept our distance we would be fine.

The Spiderman balloon was the most impressive color-wise.  It's red glow was very intense at night.

They ended the show with a skydiving show.  The skydivers wore suits that lit up during their descent.  It was difficult to capture any good pictures, but here are the two best shots.  The first one is of the skydivers directly overhead.  The second photo is of one of the skydivers landing in the sand trap (we were on a golf course).  They sure came in fast!

Kylie is still talking about the show.  I highly recommend a show like this if you find one in your area.  In Arizona, we only have a short time to experience them.  From what I understand, they don't fly very well once the weather gets hot.

If you want a better look at the bumblebee balloons, they have a picture posted on Wikipedia:

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