The much anticipated "All Glow"
Two weekends ago, the Valparaiso Kiwanis club hosted the 2011 Hot Air Balloon Fest at the Porter County Fair Grounds. I must say, it was quite a treat. Anyone who knows me well, knows that I have a fascination with flying, and while we didn't get there in time to see the balloons in flight, being able to watch them be set up was very fascinating indeed.
The balloons are much larger in person than one might expect. On the other hand, the "envelope" which is the actual balloon-y part, rolls up into a much smaller little bundle than would be guessed, easily thrown into the back of a pickup. The burners, to me, were the most exciting part. Huge propane-fueled flames are thrown into the envelope to create the hot air necessary to lift the balloon. As my husband remarked while we were there, the night involved two of my favorite things, "aviation and raw power". I think his statement was correct, but would like to add 'hugeness' to the list. Large animals, large rock formations, large balloons! I'm really glad we ended up going, because at only $10 per vehicle, the Balloon Fest is a fun and relaxing and unique way to enjoy the day with family and friends. Did I mention there were food vendors?
Now for some history: As with many unpredictable and potentially dangerous scientific endeavors, the very first hot air balloon launch was attempted on September 19th, 1783, with the "assistance"of animals. Namely, a sheep, a rooster and a duck. Perhaps they were hoping that the rooster and the duck could fly their way out out danger. I'm not sure what they were hoping with the sheep. Around two months later, on November 21st, 1783, the first manned hot air balloon flight was launched in Paris, by brothers Joseph and Etienne Montgolfier, and lasted 20 minutes. To find out what's involved with flying this particular type of aircraft, click on this link. The whole site has a lot of great information.
Short video of a hot air balloon game played at the Valparaiso Kiwanis 2011 Balloon Festival. As a part of the "Night Glow" portion of the event, the balloonists played this fun balloon game to my favorite tune, "Who let the dogs out?" I only regret that I didn't make the video longer.
Thanks for stopping by!