Like Duck to Water, thats how I have taken to life :). This blog is the saga of love and adventures of a small duck in a large water body called LIFE....

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Thursday, October 04, 2007

Having a ball with balloons!

Its been sometime since I found out about the Balloon Festival that happens every year in Louisville, Kentucky. But we didn't really know about the whole thing until the start of this year. It was only after I saw a hot air balloon on a drive to Louisville, that I actually did some research and discovered the whole thing :). The festival known as the Adam Matthews Balloon Festival is supposedly the fifth largest hot air balloon festival in the US and is supposedly the largest in Kentucky. Well, I had never seen a hot air balloon up, close and personal before and no wonder I wanted to.

Somehow, on a coincidence, the festival dates were September 28th to 30th and mom was coming here on the 28th. We thought we will wait to see how she fares and then decide whether to go or not. I mean, jet lag is a big factor when you are travelling around the globe, that too for the first time! But surprisingly, she was the first to get all excited and was most willing to go :). Like daughter, like mom, I guess ;-). She looked pretty alright too, so we decided to go after all.

The festival consists of a race very early in the morning, later a balloon glow show in the evening followed by a firework show. The race was at 7:30 AM, so it didn't really make sense to go there so early and then wait the whole day. So we decided to attend just the evening glow show instead.

On saturday, 29th September 2007, at about 3:30 PM, we drove to Louisville. We reached the Bowman airfield where the festival is conducted, at about 4:30 PM. Strictly speaking, I was really disappointed at what I saw when we reached there. There were no hot-air balloons whatsoever and there were only some inflated structures for kids to play in. The traffic was also a bit less and there were not many people around. Since there was still time for the "evening" to go, we started roaming around the place.

The festival has no admission fee and there's only a parking fee of $7, so its really great if you have kids ;-). We saw the inflated structures and also got some freebies (some new chips from Flat Earth and some goodies from Meijer, who were the sponsors of the event). There was a nice concert going on, so after roaming around a bit, we spread a blanket and sat around enjoying the view. The trucks carrying the hot air balloons (non-inflated), started arriving one by one, but they started setting up everything only at around 7:30 PM. The reason being that the balloon glow show looks good only after sunset! But it was fun once they started the process :). The crowds also seemed to come out of nowhere and soon the field was full of people!

First, they setup the basket and the balloon quite far away from it.

Next they started spreading the balloons (they were all tied up and packed like a tent). It took several people to actually spread the balloon material.

Finally, they tilted the baskets and started the hot air flow which would blow the balloons up!

And so stood this balloon and so many more! It was fascinating!! People were struggling to balance the balloons. Some climbed into the basket to stabilize them while others tugged to and fro :-D. Some tied them securely to SUVs and trucks :).
We started our roaming again and took loads of pictures as usual ;-).

Some of the balloons had shapes. While this below one was shaped like a tree and had twigs with birds on them..

.., another one had a face, hands and legs!

I couldn't take a snap of yet another one which was shaped like a bear's face. But this one below was the best of them all - a huge cow balloon!!

It was obviously sponsored by a milk company ;-) :-D. All the balloons were sponsored and there were some well known names too, first being the Harley Davidson balloon.

Looks like the bottom's on fire, doesn't it? :-D. And then there was the Coca Cola balloon.

I even noticed a balloon sponsored by a funeral home! Anyways, the best thing about the whole glow show was that at about every 5 minutes, they'd have a countdown from 10 to 1. At the zeroeth second, all the balloons would light up (i.e switch on the gas and blow the hot air) simultaneously! It made for a wonderful sight, to say the least!

It was like nothing I've ever seen and an experience certainly worth repeating! Not to mention, mom and Sri considered it really well done too.

The glow show went on from about 8PM to almost 9 PM. Later they had the firework display which honestly speaking wasn't really upto standards (maybe I expect too much after the fireworks of the Louisville Air show). But well, the balloons compensated for everything else ;-). Obviously there was a traffic jam when we finally left the premises. It was 10:30 PM when we got home and mom though exhilarated, was tired.

And so ended another lovely day :).


Timepass retorted...

Nice description of the Balloon Festival. Wish I had been there too..

Vanditha retorted...

The shapes of the balloons are fantastic!! I remembered the different shapes of the kites in the kite festival of Jaipur!! Great creativity!!

Geetha retorted...

I had a very good experience! & enjoyed lot., like a kid! Oh..It is great...
Thanks to SrIram & Deeps

Deeps retorted...


Thanks, it was really something different :).


I have heard about that Kite festival, never seen it. Here too there are some kite festivals (now I have to do some research on that :-D)..


You are most welcome :).

Orchid retorted...

hey deepthi,
congrats on the pregnancy..I've definitely missed a lot and need to catch up!! it must be fun having mom around ...enjoy and dont forget to relax!