There’s something majestic about a hot air balloon.
As a kid, I always thought they were amazing. Fire going into a balloon and lifting it off into the air and into so many possibilities. People in the basket having the chance to slowly go over the earth and see things from a different perspective. Balloons were so much better than planes because you were free to see everything from above and have the air in your face.
I’ve never flown in a hot air balloon (though I would like to some day). Still, watching them lift off and float away is a cool thing. In Oneonta, there is a yearly balloon thing, but the few times I have gone, they never seem to lift off because of the weather. This year, for the first time, I went to the Spiedie Fest and Balloon Rally in Binghamton.
We went on Friday and the weather was wonderful. The balloons were going to fly.
And fly they did.
Up they went. One at a time. Two at a time.
When one went up, another soon followed. It was quite a sight.
With a blue sky as a backdrop, it was really wild to see all of these balloons going up and floating in the sky.
Even cooler, though, is watching them get ready to have the balloons fly. With people holding down the balloon as it starts to fill, to testing the flames/heat and people getting into the baskets, it’s all part of the show. And people gather around closely to watch and take photos. So much so that sometimes workers need to shoo people away because they are getting too close.
The crowds were large, too. With the weather for the day — despite being a little hot — why wouldn’t there be crowds? Balloons, good food and Eddie Money to top the night off!
Watching the setup was sort of cool. Someone has to hold the balloon in place so it doesn’t get out of hand as it gets ready to blast off.
What’s more, watching how close these balloons get next to one another, it was pretty interesting. We watched one where when it went up, bumping the one next to it a little as that one filled up. But with it being balloons, nothing seemed to happen when they bump one another.
Balloon rides aren’t cheap. I’m not sure how much they were here, but I know in the past I’ve heard a price upwards of $200 per person. That’s not a bad price, I don’t think, but not something I’d just throw out to hop in a balloon. It’s something I’d love to do some day for photo opportunities, though.
Just imagine being on the opposite end of this photo — and looking down instead of looking up:
The following two days at the Spiedie Fest were pretty bad with weather. I’m not sure if they got balloons off or not, but I’m glad the day I chose to go was pretty solid as it was fun to watch them fly.
I’d hit the event again next year (and I’m shocked it’s the first time I ever went), especially if there was a good musical act at the end of the night.
Here are a few videos I took of balloons taking off and such.
Feel free to leave a comment, or e-mail P.J. at hoohaablog [at] gmail.com.