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Opening Magic Kingdom

Opening Magic Kingdom

Sunday, June 24, 2012

An Evening of Hot Air Balloons

Up, up, and away, in a beautiful balloon. . . or so as the lyrics go.  Friday night, the skies of our city will filled with hot air balloons and we were literally in the middle of all of it.

We arrived at the park with a picnic dinner, well more of a cooler dinner.  We got a great place to park—backed in to make leaving after the fireworks much easier.  When we settled and ate our dinners, I sent text messages to the balloon race coordinators telling them that the Williams Family was at the park and willing to help with whatever they needed.

When the boy and the husband were done eating, they took off for a walk and discovered some geese nearby.

By the time they returned to our van, we were being paged to go help crew a balloon for the fun flight that evening, which would be followed by the Night Glow.

We headed off across the field ready to crew.  This is when we met Chris Reinhart from Alta—we crewed for him last year—click here to read more.  It was quick work to reacquaint ourselves and we loaded into his truck to find a spot to launch the balloon.

After checking out two different potential launch locations, it was decided that the winds were not consistent enough for safe flying.  The consensus was that the balloons with local sponsors would give it a try.  One balloon launched, went up almost a mile, and then came back down in almost the exact same location as it had launched.  The point was to try to get the ring off the pole in the middle of the fun flight field.  You can’t do that if the winds won’t carry the balloon in the right direction.

We headed back to the field and waited to get ready for night glow.

None of the balloons that did launch made it near the fun flight field.  Some years, there have been several who have made it close!

Soon, the chase vehicles were pulling into the field to launch balloons for Night Glow.  Night Glow is when most, if not all of the balloons set up on the field and then provide a spectacular sight for on lookers as they all “glow” at the same time.  It is incredible!

The Williams Family crewed or help to set up the balloon.  I was on the guide rope this year.  Careful, as the rope can pull you off the ground if you’re not careful!

Soon the balloons were all up and glowing. 

Some like to collect the balloonists' card throughout the Night Glow event.  The boy was no exception and gathered quite a few.

It takes some coordination to get all of the balloons to glow at the same time, but the event announcers make it all work!

After the Night Glow, we got the balloon down and put away.  No easy feat in the dark.

We made it back to our van for some cool drinks and snacks from the cooler with 5 minutes to spare before the fireworks.  It was a great evening.  Community, family, fun, and adventure!

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