Monday, July 30, 2012

Up Up and Away!!!!

When I was a little girl my parents took me to a fair that had a hot air balloon launch.  I fell head over heals in love with hot air balloons that day. I can remember watching the balloons getting filled up and then lifting off into the air like it was yesterday.  I always told people I wanted to be a hot air balloon guide when I grew up.  That was the last time I saw a launch until yesterday.

The first of over a hundred balloons to take launch was a Pepsi balloon. This site was so joyful I can't even explain. 

It started several months ago when I saw an add for the Quick Chek Ballooning Festival in Readington, New Jersey.  I knew I had to go.  The event is three days long.  Everyone I know who has gone before didn't get to see the launch because of the weather.

Friday didn't work for us, so maybe Saturday.  The launches go off twice a day 6:30 am and 6:30 pm.  It was a wash out for Saturday night. They don't let you know if they are going to launch or not, so I sat at the computer checking the weather and the festival's FB page hoping for updates. Since the festival was over an hour away I didn't want to drive all that way pay $30.00 for each of us to get in and no launch.

I called my mother Saturday night and asked her if she wanted to go to the launch at 6:30 am Sunday morning. She was so excited and told me yes. So we made our plans. I set my alarm clock for 4:00 am and was going to pick her up at 5:00.  I also checked in with Debbie. She had been to the festival and was planning on going to, but wasn't sure what time.

I checked the weather on Sunday morning at 4:00 and it looked like all thunderstorms around the launch area.  My mother and I decided not to go.  I got a text from Debbie at 6:18 am and she was there and the balloons were launching.  I was so sad we didn't go.

So I decided rain or shine we were going to head up for the 6:30 pm launch.

We got to the festival and thousands of other people were there.  We waited in a very long line to get in.  As we were waiting a mother and son came up to us and asked if we would like two tickets.  My face lite up and I couldn't stop smiling (tickets are $30.00 a piece).  I couldn't express my gratitude enough to those wonderful people.  Now we just had to stay in line to buy one more ticket (Tiny was young enough so he was free).  And amazingly someone else approached us and gave us another ticket.  I did have a tear in my eye at that point.  People can be so kind sometimes and I am not sure if they will ever know how much we appreciated it. 

We walked around the festival there were blue skys and it was hot!  We were sweating buckets and the boys got cotton candy and went on some rides. There were no signs of balloons getting launched and after a while the skys turned dark.  oh dear

We got a spot by the launch area and started talking to someone that has been to the festival many times. He said that it wasn't looking good for the launch because the balloons should be getting set up by then.

Then it started to rain. It rained harder and harder and we headed to the car for cover.

But we didn't leave.  We ate our dinners I had packed.  Then the rain stopped and we headed back into the festival.  The temperature dropped to the mid 70s and it was so much nicer. Still no signs of balloons.

Then the announcement came on "The balloons are going to launch!"

The thousands and thousands of people there roared with applause.  Especially me :)

Music was blasting "Up Up and Away" "Rocket Man" "Star Wars Theme" "Happy Birthday" it was so incredibly exciting.  As each balloon lifted off the ground everyone cheered and waved. It was so exciting!

I only took 400 pictures :)

We had a sunset launch.

Rocket Man. Elton John's "Rocket Man" song was playing as he lifted off. Oh it was so much fun.

The balloons are in a race. There is a disk dropped somewhere and whoever lands closest to it wins $250,000.00! I really should be a hot air balloon guide.

They were interviewing the balloon pilots and one was saying they land in peoples yards sometimes and they usually get invited in and the people will feed them dinner or breakfast depending on when they land.  I wish one would land in our yard.

I hope all the balloons landed safely and thank you so much Debbie for motivating me to get to the festival. It was absolutely magical.

I plan on making a photo book with all my pictures. I have so many more and I have to do something with them all. 


heyBJK said...

Those are awesome! The great thing about hot air balloons is all of the different colors. I like the Pepsi and American flag balloons! Nice silhouette shots, too!

Beth said...

wow, great shots. i love all the different balloons. love the smiley face & Pepsi can. so great!! what a great time. lovely. (:

Leanne said...

Awesome pictures! Love Brady's smiley face.

Debbie said...

andee, i took all my photos from our actual balloon ride to moto photo by you and he made a video with them. it's amazing how they flowed together, even though they were pictures!! he added the music "up, up and away". i gave it to chuck for his birthday!!

you images are amazing, the sutset really adds to the pictures.

i see fast freddy, i'll bet he had a great time.

i am posting mine tomorrow. today is barn charm for me ;)))

Deanna said...

Oh wow, these are such great pictures..I can't even begin to pick a fav. the sky was great too. all so wonderful and I am so happy 1) that you got free tickets and 2) that the rains stopped and you were able to enjoy!!

Lori ann said...

wow andee! how fantastic, i LOVE your photos, love the whole post. seeing little bradys crinkled nose, showing pure delight had to be my favorite though. Awesome! yes, make a book, what a fantasic idea!

Debbie said...

i have been looking through my pictures and have started preparing my post. your pictures are so much better then mine. the sky in your background is breathtaking!!

thecrazysheeplady said...

Your photography is so incredibly nice. These are gorgeous, start to finish.

ALF said...

Every year in the beginning of September there is a balloon race in Reno - The Great Reno Balloon Race. Our friend's dad has a balloon that he races and he gives us rides in it. You have to come to Reno to visit me!!!

Ida said...

Super fun post. I love Hot Air Balloons. We have a much smaller Hot Air Balloon Festival here every year in May and it's always fun to see the colorful balloons.
You've got some great shots here. Thanks for sharing.