Hot Air Balloon Rally Awesomeness

On Saturday, August 7, we awoke at 3:00 a.m. to see the 5:30 a.m. lift-off of 18 hot air balloons in Pittsfield, NH.

You heard me right. We awoke at three o’clock in the morning for hot air balloons.

When we arrived in Pittsfield, everyone was allowed on the field as the balloons were unloaded and launched. Never thought I’d be so close to hot air balloons or their burners. Uh-mazing.

Here’s video of “our” balloon being launched. I say “our” because this balloon guy’s truck pulled up to where we were standing on the field and unloaded literally at our feet. We chatted with Mr. Balloon Guy and he showed us the basket interior and regaled us with all the technical mumbo-jumbo. After he filled the balloon with regular air (from a regular fan), he started the burners and away they went. The loudspeaker music was fun—Up, Up and Away, the B-52’s Roam, and Seal’s version of Fly Like an Eagle.

While our balloon was still on the ground being filled with regular fan air, Mr. Balloon Guy’s Assistant told me I could take off my sandals and step inside while the fan air was blowing through, but I declined. I wasn’t keen on potentially causing some weirdness to happen to their fabric. Shawn was telling me to do it because it would have made a great photo—me inside a huge balloon with the fan air blowing through. But I wasn’t comfortable with the idea, especially since the invitation came from Mr. Assistant and not from Mr. Balloon Guy Himself (who had stepped away for a moment).

Our balloon turned out to be our favorite balloon of the 18—it was the only balloon with graphics. It was challenging to frame 18 balloons in one photo and I never succeeded. I would have loved a bright blue sky as a backdrop, but you can’t have everything. And I never did get the name of our balloon.

Click for photos from August 7, 2010

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