Wet and Aggressive Corella challenges Magpie

Wet and Aggressive Corella challenges Magpie

Thursday, 31 March 2016

Balloon Spectacular 2016

For a lot of the year, early risers in my city can often see a balloon or two drifting across the sky.  I welcome them each time I see them.
 
However, in March for about ten days the city goes a bit balloon mad.  Each year we have a Balloon Spectacular (which starts as Enlighten finishes) and up to fifty balloons are launched each day.  Bliss.  There is always at least one 'feature' balloon.  This year?  Lots of feature balloons.  Some we knew about, and others which were a surpise/treat on the day.  This year is the 30th that the balloon festival has been held here - and I hope it continues for many years to come.


Weather permitting they take off from the lawns of Old Parliament House, and as well as the fortunate riders, it has become a tradition for people to come along and watch them inflate and take off.


His high and skinniness loathes mornings and given his druthers gets up (slowly) at the crack of noon.  Fortunately my youngest brother is like me an early riser - and he is also a balloon tragic.


I understand using tragic as a noun in this way is peculiar to Australians.  Essentially it means an interest in something which some might consider has been taken to obsessional levels.  I love balloons.  I have flown in them (and mourn that I doubt I can clamber into the basket any longer) and seeing them always brightens my day.

So we headed off, arriving at the launch venue just before dawn.  As is usual lots (and lots) of photos follow and will embiggen if clicked upon.









This was one of the feature balloons that we knew about.  Inspired by the Disney movie Up (which I haven't seen) despite looking like it is covered in jelly beans or smarties those are additional tiny balloons on the skin.  This one came to us from the UK, and when the burner was on looked stunning.












This is Owlbert Eyenstein, built in Brazil and brought to my city from Arizona where he now lives.  
He is huge.  Fully inflated he stands 30.5 metres tall.










Even the RAAF (Royal Australian Air Force) got in the fun.  This is their new balloon and has been crafted in the shade of a fighter pilot wearing a full helmet and aids including visor, oxygen mask and oxygen hose.





Baby Blue was one of the most popular balloons - and a complete surprise.  No publicity and seeing her inflate was a treat.




If you look closely at this red balloon you will notice there is no basket.  The brave pilot is essentially hang-gliding with a hot air balloon.









Thank you for bearing with me.  Do you wonder that my smiles were so broad?  And that I was more than happy to go again?

145 comments:

  1. not sure I'd be brave enough to go up but the balloons are so colorful to see especially the specialty ones, like the owl and bird and jellybean

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    1. Linda Starr: I loved my rides, but also love watching them.

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  2. I always love your balloon photos and these are amazing. I especially like the Up inspired balloon (you should see the movie, while it's a bit sad it is a good movie). I can only image how wonderful it would feel to ride in one of these balloons. The guy doing the hang gliding under the balloon is brave. I've never hang glided, but I have flown in an ultra-light and it was sooo much fun.

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    1. Mason Canyon: I have never flown in a hang-glider or an ultra light, but ballooning is amazing. Really, really amazing.

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  3. The balloon balloon is cool. It does look like the one from Up.

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    1. Alex J. Cavanaugh: Why am I not surprised you have seen Up?

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  4. I've been fortunate enough to ride in a hot air balloon two times--what a blast!!

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  5. They are spectacular, and the jelly bean one is incredible, but then again, I could have said that about many of the others. Thank you so much for the pictures. I am probably one of the only people you know who has actually jumped from a balloon, four different times actually. I wish I could have jumped from one as cool as Owlbert! :-)

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    1. DJan: You are DEFINITELY the only person I know who has jumped from a balloon. Braver than I am, despite your parachute.

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    1. I think the whale is my favourite today EC. I had this thought when looking through the photos again, imagine if all the air forces around the world were only equipped with hot air balloons ... Am I on to the key to world peace you think? It would be awfully hilarious.

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    2. carol: I really like your thought about the air-forces limited to hot air balloons. I wouldn't mind the navy being limited to boat-floaties either.

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  7. I like the balloon balloon too. What a fun day. We have a hot air balloon festival coming to the Gulf coast of Alabama in May. I have never been to it as I don't like crowds but it might be fun to enjoy it from afar once they're all in the air.

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    1. We are: Clamco: I don't like crowds either - but make an exception for this one. Mid week the crowds are much smaller too.

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  8. Never have ridden in one but I sure like to look at them. Used to have a festival in Albuquerque New Mexico I went to a couple of times. Glad you enjoyed yourself!

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    1. mohaverat: I had a wonderful time. They are incredible to see filling the skies aren't they?

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  9. Amazing and very enjoyable, thank you for this

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    1. Martin Kloess: It indeed amazing and enjoyable. I am glad to share.

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  10. I can only imagine how bradly you smiled considering my smile was quite wide and I wasn't even there. You live in such a fascinating city. How lucky you are!

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    1. Myrna R.: I smile (each year) so broadly my face hurts. And smile again, going through the photos. I do like my city, despite its boring reputation.

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  11. I have not encountered 'tragic' used as a noun meaning obsessive fan. Favorite balloon? The one covered with lots of little balloons. So pretty though the whale was nice too. As many have said previously, you do live in an interesting area.

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    1. Sue in Itali/In the Land of Cancer: The balloons and Enlighten are both held largely in our parliamentary triangle - and are much more entertaining than their regular weekday usage. And, as I said to Myrna R above, my city has a reputation as boring.

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  12. The jelly bean/UP is amazing! How did they put that together? A fascinating event, to be sure.

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    1. Susan Kane: The seamstress's skill in constructing ANY of the feature balloons blows me away. Precision an essential.

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  13. You are so lucky I love those things when ever I see them floating around in the sky out comes the camera, we had one the other day but you had 50 amazing.
    To ride in them not sure about that to high in the sky for me.
    Merle........

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    1. Merlesworld: To see so many in the skies at once is a wonderful thing. I would rather fly in a balloon than a plane. Much rather.

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  14. The balloons balloon and Baby Blue were my hands down favorites! I remember the balloons during my mornings there (study abroad) and very much enjoyed the sight. Looks wonderful. I hoped to ride in one one day!

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    1. I mean while I was Melbourne! Not just Oz in general *wince* Oh dear. You know what I mean! Thanks for the pics :)

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    2. HBF: I hope you get to fly one day. It is just as incredible to do as it looks. How long were you in Oz for?

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  15. What a wonderful sight! I also went balloon riding once; we didn't go far because of the lack of wind, but it was glorious. The word glorious isn't enough to describe those balloons in your pictures. It is always so nice to read your colorful posts, whether it be birds or balloons or festivals.

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    1. Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe: Glorious is exactly the right word. Serene and beautiful. Particularly over water, though some of the balloons this year had to be towed off our lake when they became becalmed.

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  16. How on earth can one feel deflated when looking at those wonderful balloons?

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    1. Lee: I know not. I certainly couldn't. My heart soared with them all.

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  17. I have been so looking forward to seeing these photograph and I certainly am NOT disappointed. They aare ALL wonderful and I so would like to have been up in anyone of them.

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    1. Margaret Adamson: I hope you do get to fly in one some day. Magical. Though watching them launch is inspiring too.

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  18. Ooh, I like the jelly bean balloon...and Baby Blue;)

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  19. All so pretty, but I just LOVE that jelly bean balloon!!!!

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    1. Bookie: I like it, but I think it is Baby Blue which has the biggest piece of my heart this year.

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  20. I love the whales,especially when they come from behind the trees! And the RAAF helmet.Oh, , what the heck! I'm just another balloon tragic!

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    1. dinahmow: I knew that. And there are much worse things to be tragic about.

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  21. Oh wow!! I love the balloon made up of little balloons! Amazing creativity, and would have been spectacular to see them all.

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    1. CountryMum: Calling the event the Balloon Spectacular wasn't just hyperbole. Spectacular by name and nature.

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  22. Wow, aren't they just brilliant and it is hard to pick a favourite. The jelly bean balloon is pretty good, as is the owl.

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  23. Oh this is just gorgeous! I might be balloon tragic also! (Thanks for the education on the word tragic.)

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    1. Anne in the kitchen: I am always happy to meet/create more balloon tragics.

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  24. Your excitement and joy come thhrough in these wonderful photos, EC. What an absolute treat!
    (And do see 'Up', even if you don't like animated films. It's very good).

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    1. Alexia: I am glad that I could convey some of the joy. It isn't that I don't like animated films. I am not a movie goer. Never got the habit. The last exception to the rule was animated though - Paddington Bear.

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  25. They are magnificent creatures. An excursion balloon started coming down in our side yard, once. My brother in law walked along and talked to the pilot, until he got the burners to go up again.

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    1. Joanne Noragon: I love the thought of your brother in law walking and talking with the pilot. A different start to both of their days.

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  26. I have never seen a balloon festival- but this looks amazing. I can imagine that it is awesome in person because the pictures are fabulous. I am not sure which if my favorite- but possibly the balloon with all the balloons on it. Love this post! Glad you got to enjoy this event!
    ~Jess

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    1. DMS ~ Jess: Having been to the festival once, I try very, very hard to get there at least once (and often more) each year. It is a beautiful spectacle and the atmosphere is filled with joy, excitement and wonder.

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  27. the whale, the owl and the girl with the plaits are my faves. It would seem that novelty is my thing!

    Heights terrify me so there isnt much chance of catching me in a balloon, even if i could climb in.

    So pleased you enjoyed yourself

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    1. kylie: The balloon tragic brother is afraid of heights. He was given a balloon ride for a significant birthday and very rapidly was elbowing his way to a better vantage point in the basket.
      Mind you, I suspect that most of the spectators have never and will never fly in a balloon.
      And I had a wonderful time.

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  28. If I lived anywhere close to your city I would totally be a balloon tragic! They look magnificent! My favs are the Up one, the red one w/o basket, and that last shot of the sky embellished with the colours, Breath taking what beauty nature and humans working together can achieve!

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    1. Nilanjana Bose: I am so glad to hear that you could feel/see the joy. It really is a delight.

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  29. After many decades of having to get up and go to work before dawn, I too prefer to sleep in, but I'd make a special effort to watch these dreams drift aloft ahead of sunrise. Thank you for these wonderful photos and descriptions!

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    1. Geo.: Insomnia sometimes has some pluses. I have become addicted to the quiet of predawn hours, and dawn plus balloons is bliss.

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  30. How jolly wonderful to be able to see so many balloons and all different. Never been in one.

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    1. Margaret-whiteangel: It is wonderful. But so is flying in one.

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  31. So many people there! I shouldn't be surprised, I'd be there too if I could.
    Love them all, with a few favourites, the "ballooned balloon; Owlbert Eyenstein and of course Baby Blue. The Air Force helmet is a good one.
    I didn't notice the red one didn't have a basket until you pointed it out!

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    1. River: There were indeed a lot of people there. Many more than there are on a weekday morning. Of them all I think Baby Blue was my favourite this year, but I loved them all too. And was amazed at the man without the basket...

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  32. They are really neat! I like looking at them, but you'd never get me in one. I hate heights so much, I actually get dizzy and feel sick every time an aerial view comes on the TV -- just the thought of being that high up...!

    I am very glad you got to go! Joy sounds about right. And you definitely need more of that!

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    1. Paper Chipmunk (aka Ellen): Definitely joy. Lots of joy. Heights I am ok with. I don't like being in the basement of tall buildings though. Or underground car parks...

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  33. Oh, the bright colors and different shapes and sizes are a feast for the eyes. I can totally understand you being balloon tragic. Wow!

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    1. e: We are known to be a nation of sports tragics. I think my take is much, much better.

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  34. Now I know when to show up! ;-)

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    1. The Cranky: March is a good month. So is September for the flower festivals...

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  35. A fantastic sight that must have been and to hear the roar and whoosh of the flames as the balloon rises in the sky, or comes back to earth :) This is what I remember from my time in California when they gently floated over my house, so low I could see the people waving to me as I was in my garden. Their landing spot was close by. Your brilliant photos brought back wonderful memories. Thank you!

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    1. DeniseinVA: These balloons don't have a set landing spot. The land crew (and spectators) chase them. I love the way that people wave to balloons. I do it.

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  36. Those are amazing. Growing up I used to see alloons a lot.now days, not so much. The pictures are beautiful.

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    1. Jason and Michelle: Welcome and thank you. Balloons always make me smile.

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  37. Oh what fun! A balloon balloon! LOL! I'm with you- I would definitely get up early to see this!

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    1. Terri @ Coloring Outside the Lines: I am up early anyway. Balloons are a very definite bonus.

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  38. Stunning. That would be so fun to see. Great pics! I am afraid of heights, so I'll probably never go up in an air balloon, but they fascinate me.
    Mary at Play off the Page

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    1. Mary Aalgaard: Welcome and thank you. Balloons ARE fascinating. And beautiful. My heart soars with them...

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    1. Sandra Cox: Loved them all. So much fun. And the skill with which the balloons are made is matched by the skills of their pilots.

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  40. I LOVE this!!! I am not a morning person but I would get up for these amazing balloons. I've been up in a balloon and I was a bit scared. The creaking basket freaked me out.

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    1. Sonya Ann: Creaking basket? I think that would bother me too. I am pretty certain the ones I rode in didn't creak. Or perhaps I couldn't hear it over my squeals of joy.

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  41. Seeing all the little balloons lit up by the burner is spectacular. My son-in-law flies ultra lights so I'm sure he'd like to hang glide from a balloon!

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    1. River Fairchild: The basket makes all the difference for me. I am pretty certain I would wimp out on the hang-gliding front.

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  42. My father loved taking balloon rides. We have a Balloon Fest here in summer. Not as big as yours but fun to watch! They are impressive, these big balloons. I love the balloon that looks like little balloons.

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    1. Donna@LivingFromHappiness: Balloons are always a delight. Our balloon festival started small, and is growing. Which makes me very happy.

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  43. Brilliant.
    What an awesome spectacle, Sue.
    FABULOUS.
    You make my world a bit sweeter!! xx

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  44. Very cool. The colors great. But you know my favorite are the two skyline shots.

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    1. Author R. Mac Wheeler: So much colour, so much whimsy. So much fun.

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  45. Fantastic event! I wish we had something like that where I live.

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    1. Olga Godim: I am so grateful that we have this magic to look forward to every year.

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  46. I hope to get to one of those balloon things before I kick the bucket or my neck is too stiff to look up for a long time. I would bring a camera. Thanks for showing me what I'm missing.

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    1. Jono: A couple of times I have been in danger of falling over as I try and focus on balloons directly overhead. Watching them inflate is safer. And I will do both for as long as I can. If you get the chance, go...

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  47. Beautiful balloons, my favourite is Owlbert Eyenstein, it is funny, ha ha.

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    1. Bob Bushell: Lots of people would agree with you. If I had to pick a favourite I would go for Baby Blue - but I loved them all.

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  48. Simply awesome. Love those colorful balloons.

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    1. Rasma Raisters: Aren't they beautiful?

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  49. So many original and intriguing designs! I love the "jellybean" balloon and the owl, which I can see clearly now is NOT a chicken :)

    So is there not a door in the basket to enter and exit? How do short people and children get in? I would never get over the side unless someone picked me up and pitched me over!

    But I would go to watch, too. Even if it meant getting up early.

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    1. jenny_o: No door. One clambers over the side. Quickly. I suppose they can't risk a door popping open in flight.
      My late rising partner made two attempts to see the launch this year - which says something about how wonderful it is.

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  50. What spectacular shots - and so much fun!

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    1. ladyfi: It is. Lots and lots and lots of fun.

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  51. Can you see my huge smile, EC? Thank you!

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    1. Carol: My face hurts from the size of the smiles this event produces.

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  52. Oh, what absolute fun!!! This from someone who has never ever seen a balloon in the air. Thank you so much for sharing with us.
    I thought Smarties on that so pretty one. Loved the whales and the owl and the RAAF balloon is so clever.
    Thanks again.

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    1. Mimsie: I am so grateful to often see balloons. The Balloon Spectacular is something I look forward to every year. I have never been disappointed either.

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  53. Wow! I really enjoyed this post! The owl was my favorite!

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    1. Ginger Dawn Harman: He was clever wasn't he? And BIG.

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  54. Ooh, ooh, I like Eyestein too.

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  55. I've never seen such a deliciously inventive balloon.
    Be well, EC.

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  56. PS Of course, I meant the jelly bean one. =)

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    1. Rawknrobyn: I am glad that other people see the smartie/jelly bean theme too. I needed to be told that it was balloons.

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  57. I would probably crash the big jelly bean balloon by trying to take a bite out of it. Delicious looking!

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    1. Grannie Annie: Jaws of steel? I suspect (hope) that they are fairly tough.

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  58. Wonders and and warmth when I visit you!

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    1. Cloudia: As it does when I visit you.

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  59. Oh my gosh, so colorful! Lucky you! Beautiful!

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    1. Yolanda Renee: Lots of those colours just 'pop' in the first light of day don't they?

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  60. The balloon of balloons!! I love it!! And tis from over here eh? I'd love to see it, but there are never any shows up north of use that I'm aware of. Betty gets top marks too. Thank you for sharing these, I do love you balloon escapades dearie *smiles*. x

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    1. All Consuming: The Up balloon was pretty incredible wasn't it? People have said the movie was good too. I am glad that you love my balloons, because I do (shameful as it is) think worse of people who can't see the beauty and the charm.

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  61. Very special photos you've shared with us. The next best thing to being there, is seeing all of these magical and artful balloons. What a marvelous event.

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    1. Karen S.: Even seeing one balloon makes my heart lift, to see so many at once? I soar with them.

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  62. WOW this is spectacular! I love the fighter pilot helmet and the Baby Blue whale. And the UP balloons. I watched the movie with the grandies not long ago. There used to be a balloon around here shaped like a paint can with a brush sticking out of the top, I saw it often. I have a funny story about balloons. A few years ago a young couple and their minister went up in a balloon and got married up in the air. Our local paper reported that it was the first time a marriage had been "consummated" in a balloon". Needless to say, the paper quickly published a correction the following week.... it should have read "celebrated"!

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    1. Shammickite: Now I am wondering whether marriages/relationships have been consumnated in balloons. Balloonists do it higher? I bet they have. I suspect there was laughter as well as red faces at the newspaper office.

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  63. Yes, rising at the crack of dawn to see the balloons - that's what is done here on one weekend in June for the balloon festival. The best part certainly is the Dawn Patrol - it's amazing! One of the most interesting and spectacular balloons I have seen here was a Noah's Arc! Quite the sight!

    I envy you for having flown in a balloon. I would love to do that. Perhaps for our 20th wedding anniversary...

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    1. Carola Bartz: If you get the chance - do it. It is so very, very beautiful. And take your camera. Please.

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  64. I’m glad you shared this usage of the word tragic. It is very to distinguish between being avid about something (like Peggy is about buttons) and going overboard (which I sometimes wonder if Peggy has done about buttons).

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    1. Snowbrush: I hadn't realised it was an almost exclusively orstrayan usage of the word until another blogger queried it in an earlier post. And there are a lot of tragics about. Sports tragics are probably the most common here.

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  65. Ohhh, I so envy your Balloon Fest!
    Such a joy to see!

    I can feel your excitement reading your words :)
    I too would be a balloon tragic every year!

    Can't decide which I'm drawn to the most, but it definitely comes down to Owlbert Eyenstein, Baby Blue (and mumma) and the myriad balloons balloon, Up..... you should see the movie, it is so heartwarming.

    No competition - all evenly liked for me!

    Thank you so much for reminding me!
    I LOVED the photos! ♥

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    1. Vicki: Balloon tragics unite. It really is an amazing event. And a lot of the crowd watching are at least as excited as I am.

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  66. I would adore going to that, too. I think the jellybean balloon is my favorite. What a wonderful event!

    And I love the use of the word tragic. :)

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    1. Lynn: I was quite surprised to learn that using tragic that way is largely limited to my country. I know rather a lot of tragics (of various flavours). And yes, it is wonderful. Each and every year.

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  67. Launching 50 balloons a day! It's a wonder they don't collide in midair. What a beautiful site to see, I'm sure. Thank you for sharing your photos, which are the next best thing.

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    1. Susan F.: There have been some near misses I have seen, but the pilots are very, very skilled. Which is just as well.

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  68. We used to watch them annually when they went off in Michigan. They never got old, and neither do pics. Love these!!

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    1. mail4rosey: They are lovely aren't they? And this balloon tragic can't imagine them getting old.

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  69. That balloon with balloons all over it, blows me mine. Love it.

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    1. The Happy Whisk: I love them all. It is such a happy morning event. For so many people, whether they are usually early birds or not.

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  71. Oih… how wonderful balls, they all are so lovely. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. orvokki: I love them. And this morning going into town I saw a solitary balloon. And smiled.

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