Alturas Balloon Fest

I got up at six this morning to go to the balloon fest, so this is image heavy and text light.

History: I’ve gone to the balloon fest almost every year I’ve lived in town for it, but never gone up in one except for 2001. Usually the fest is the second weekend of September, but though that year they pushed it back and the balloons couldn’t go up. At least, not all the way.  They stayed tethered, and a ride up and down only cost $10. Don’t have any pictures of that, so you’ll miss the image of me in my goofy denim overalls.

They serve a pancake, egg, and bacon breakfast every year, for just a couple bucks. Serving starts at 6:30, to beat the balloons.

Usually they lay the balloon out over tarps, although one shows up every year without one, and ends up with a rather dusty balloon when it’s in the air. This particular balloon was actually the last—all the other balloons were full and flying. And if you aren’t familiar with hot air balloons, this is taken from what is the top, when full. They fill it up with that giant fan.

One nice thing about a small town  balloon fest is being able to get right up close. When they used to hold it at the elementary school, we students were able to help fill it—that is, hold the sides along the middle and drag them out so it will fill properly. They can’t hold it at the school anymore, so now a generous resident donates their field.

The tarp-less balloon. For some reason I recall it always seems to go up early, or earlier than others—that’s why it looks so wrinkled. We don’t get many balloons here, and they tend to be the same ones. There’s a bigger balloon race in Reno earlier, so we get those who just don’t have to go home yet. And are very grateful. Though I miss Smokey the Bear.

Humpty-Dumpty is something of a consolation. He’s gone up a few times here. He’s all filled up and getting ready for take-off—you can see the flame in this picture.

Yay, they made it up! There isn’t a reference in this picture, but what with the cloud cover they couldn’t get very high. Up and down, and up again, but never very far, sometimes it seemed they wouldn’t even make it out of the field.

So no one was left in the field, as far as I know, but they sure didn’t make it very far. This is about a mile, at most, from the field, and in the middle of town. Convenient that we have a giant field in the middle of town as well.  Just over to the left, and they might have made it into a church parking lot.

Pretty pictures, but they do turn out better in sunlight.


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