Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Balloon Fest of America's Freedom Festival at Provo

It has become a family tradition to attend the annual Balloon Fest in Provo. It is SO worth it to get up early to go see the hot air balloons launch. Even my kids LOVE it.

This year I decided to attend by myself on July 5th so I could take pictures. It was a beautiful day, and when I arrived on the field there was only one balloon inflated.

However there were tons of baskets around the field and some of the crews were starting to unroll their balloon envelopes.

It was fun to see all the different colored envelopes laying on the ground.

Some of them were all jumbled up, while others were laid out nicely.

One of my favorite parts of the festival is that they let you wander around the field and observe the crews getting the balloons ready to fly. So I got to watch as the crews started to fill their balloons with air and then turned on their burners!

You could FEEL the waves of hot air from the burners, even from a safe distance. It was incredible! Before long there were balloons rising up from all over the field.

There were even some fun shaped balloons, like the Smokey Bear balloon and the Bank of American Fork Piggy bank balloon. They were really cool! There were so many colorful balloons!

It was hard to decide where to go next on the field because there was so much going on! So I just wandered around, snapping pictures like crazy!

It is SO amazing to watch the envelopes fill up with hot air and start to lift off the ground until they are standing straight up.

I even got to walk right next to some of the baskets and look up into their envelopes. They were so beautiful! Like enormous stained glass windows!

Before long the crews that had their balloons inflated got to watch and wait. I found out while I was walking around that on the previous morning the balloons inflated but did not fly because of the wind and weather patterns.

So they sent up some small balloons (called pie-balls, short for pilot's balloons) to see how the winds were aloft and help the pilots decide if they were going to fly or not. It turns out there was hardly any wind, which is not really what the pilots want. But luckily most of the pilots decided to fly anyway!

You should have heard the cheer from the crowd when the first balloon took off! Everyone was very excited.

Before long, more and more of the balloons started to take off from the field. It was so fun to watch!

I would love to get to ride in a hot air balloon someday. I have flown in small aircraft many times, but I think it would be lovely to float quietly in the air and ride the wind.

I loved watching the balloons launch into the sky and then slowly drift away.

Before long, most of the balloons had left the field. 

Usually they have a contest for the balloon pilots where they set up a target over the field and whoever drops their bean bag closest to the target wins. Unfortunately this year the winds were such that although the balloons didn't go too far, they didn't really make it back over the field.

It turns out that I was very fortunate to see the balloons fly. The previous day they inflated the balloons, but none of them flew because of the weather. Then I brought my entire family the day after I took these pictures with the intention of seeing the balloons, but they didn't even inflate them because of cloudy skies and storm cells in the area. My kids were so disappointed, and I don't blame them!

I promised my 7-year-old that next year we would try to go to the first day of the festival so that he would at least get a second chance to see the hot air balloons. We are lucky that we live so close to a hot air balloon festival and can go every year!

I told my husband that I enjoy the hot air balloons so much that someday I want to go to the big Hot Air Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, NM. Every year in October they launch over 500 balloons in their mass ascension. Wouldn't that be awesome to see?!

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  1. These pictures are AMAZING! My great aunt used to go to the balloon festival in NM every year with her RV group, she has some awesome pictures!

  2. These are amazing!! Wow!! I would love to experience something like this!

  3. Love the pictures. I've only done the balloon festival once, but I loved it and the kids thought it was amazing!

  4. Seriously. How gorgeous is that? I still remember going to one of these as a kid. I NEED to go to another.

  5. Incredible photos. Looks like a super fun event!

  6. Wonderful! Wish I get an opportunity to witness something like this!