Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Balloon season


Hello! I've been so absent from my blog lately and I'm really glad to be back. It's just been a busy time with school, kids' activities and events, and some household projects going on in the middle of it all. Busy and happy, which is really good. And I am so incredibly, unbelievably glad that autumn is here! It feels like a gift, I'm just so happy.

I have lots more to say about my favorite season, but I wanted to share a little local flavor today. Our city just finished hosting its annual Balloon Fiesta, which is always a fun time. Though, to be fair, we don't actually go to the Fiesta proper. Instead, we go up to a city park on high ground to watch the balloons ascend in the morning, particularly during the event known as Shape Derby, which is when the "special shapes" balloons are highlighted. Unfortunately, this year's stormy weather prevented many of the shape balloons from flying on the designated day, so we didn't get to see very many, but I thought I'd show you a little bit of what we did that morning. We go up there every year for this event, which is held on the second-to-last day - the second Saturday - of the Fiesta period, and I've shown them to you before. Some years, it's an incredible experience, like the year we got to play balloon crew on the spur of the moment when a balloon landed right there in the park. Other times, like this year, it's more watching from afar as a selection of balloons goes aloft, but it's always interesting.


There's always a fair-sized crowd up there with us. We stand, or sit, on the hill and watch the balloons rise out of the valley, just a few miles away. There weren't many people around when we first arrived, as in this photo, but it filled in quickly. People were friendly and there were lots of people visiting from out of town, which is nice to see.


The weather wasn't great. The multi-day storm was in its early stages that morning, and the clouds were just starting to spread over the mountain. It made for great views, though! Look at the sun highlighting that strip of clouds as it rolled over the peak. I think this was the last day we actually saw any mountain; it's still mostly obscured three days later, at least in the view from my house.


Meanwhile, to the west, it was looking a little bit like nighttime after the sun came out over the mountain.


I goofed up and forgot to bring a zoom lens, but I've tried cropping to give you an idea. Just above the tree, toward the left, you can see the popular Darth Vader balloon. Over toward the right, there's what we think may have been a cow-shaped balloon, but we aren't sure. There weren't many other shapes up that day, but we did see the Bimbo Bread bear, Mr. Z the giant zebra's head, and the Kissing Bees. I'm sorry not to have better photos for you. Mr. Z is a particular favorite of ours; he belongs to a family we know from school.


There were all sorts of things going on up there. We watched this man on his apparently all-terrain unicycle. He was amazingly good! I've never tried a unicycle myself but it looks very hard. This guy was just rolling around, doing his own thing. I really loved watching him.


This lady was getting bored standing around to watch the balloons, so I took her down to the playground after a while. She needed to move. There were a lot of other kids down there and she had a good time. Eventually all the balloons had ascended and there wasn't much to see from the hill anymore, so the Bear and LB joined us. Then we drove home via the bagel store for a late breakfast. Not the best sights of Balloon Fiesta, but it's a nice family tradition and we were glad to keep it going for another year. Maybe next year, the weather will cooperate more.


I did have another interesting balloon-watching experience earlier in the week. I was at home by myself one morning when I heard a whoosh-whoosh-whoooooosh from outdoors, behind the house. I ran to the window and saw a balloon descending toward the mountain. It looked like it was following roughly along the arroyo behind our house; maybe the pilot was using it as a guide, I'm not really sure. By the time I had grabbed my camera and gone out to the backyard, the balloon had moved a bit north but was still descending. I'm assuming it landed in a large park up the arroyo. There's a big open field there where balloons have occasionally landed.


These brightly-colored balloons are my favorite kind. I know it's a grainy cropped photo, but I was so happy to be able to catch it before it disappeared behind my garden wall. I could just make out the pilot, his passenger and the flame with my naked eye as the balloon passed. It was fun to have a balloon go right by the house like this. I waved, but I don't think they saw me! I'm sure they landed safely just beyond my neighborhood. Another Balloon Fiesta in the books, and now it feels like autumn is officially here (the ongoing stormy weather certainly helps; umm...it currently sounds like my roof might be the next item going in the arroyo).

13 comments:

  1. Balloon Festivals look like so much fun to me! I love that you had one right by your house. When our kids were young we had one land in a field next to our house and we all thought it was the best. So interesting!

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  2. what a lovely event!!! thanks for sharing it! hot air balloons are so beautiful!

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  3. Friends of mine shared photos years ago of their visit to the festival and I have looked forward to reports of the event since then. Knowing your family enjoys it annually and reading your report is a joy! Thanks, Jennifer 💜🤗

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  4. You managed some good photos considering the conditions. It looks a great day. Happy and busy? I like that. Jo xx

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  5. That looks like fun Jennifer. I do love to watch balloons float elegantly across the sky. I remember as a child, a balloon landed not to far from my house on a nearby field. Us kids were all racing there to get a good luck and guess what? We were allowed to "help" fold it away. By that I mean we were allowed to roll over the fabric of the balloon to squeeze the last of the air out. I wish I could do that again one day, it was fun. xx

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  6. It's brilliant fun watching balloons isn't it. There's a big festival in our nearby city every year, and my eldest's friend and his family always take part with their balloons. There's a great community atmosphere. That unicycle has reminded me that the littlest boy wants one for Christmas. But you're right, it does look incredibly hard. I had no idea you could get all-terrain ones, I think he'll certainly want one of them! Glad to here all is well with you. Busy, busy, busy here too, and my blog has been a bit neglected. CJ xx

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  7. What an amazing event and such fun to continue the tradition of watching from the park. I don't think I have ever seen so many all at one time, a wondrous sight.

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  8. Happy Autumn to you Jennifer. Balloon Fiesta is very spectacular, and it is really good to have your own family tradition of going out to see them. The children grow up so quickly, and before you know it, you will be looking back fondly to such times.

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  9. We know several people who have attended the balloon festival in Albuquerque and when they try to convey how awed they are by the experience they usually say they can’t find the right words. How cool to live right there and be able to see it every year. Thank you for sharing with us Jennifer. I’ve always wanted to go up in a hot air balloon some day. Blessings, Betsy

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  10. How lucky you are to have something so beautiful take place every year in your town! Wow!! The ballons are so pretty. It sounds like you had a great, autumn weekend!

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  12. That would be so cool to see all those balloons. We only see them once in a great while (just one or two at a time) here. Have you ever gone up in one? I haven't - and I don't plan to, either. ;-)

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