Wet and Aggressive Corella challenges Magpie

Wet and Aggressive Corella challenges Magpie

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Balloon Spectacular 2017

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?  There were two.  A Hummingbird from California which was HUGE and lovely and a Smurf from Belgium which was less to my taste.  However it was a balloon.  And I love them.


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 (another free treat).  This year the weather wasn't kind.  The balloons only took off twice in the entire festival.  However the skinny one, his sister and I were lucky enough to be there on one of those days.


My youngest brother is, like me, a balloon tragic.   Despite having already seen the balloons launch I went with him on the last day hoping for more joy.  Sadly this year he missed out.  Next year.
 
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.

On our successful venture 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.



There was a full moon, some light cloud and no wind to speak of (and it was wind gusts which kept the balloons grounded most days) when we headed off.

We were unbelievably lucky.











The soccer ball probably counts as a feature balloon as well.



That giant expanse of material?  The Hummingbird.







   
And now to the Smurf, which I didn't see inflating.



And some random shots of the wonder.  Yes Andrew, I did sneak a sunrise photo into the mix.  Of course.
















It was a delightful start to the day and even the smaller portion who is emphatically not a morning person was smiling from ear to ear.

  

117 comments:

  1. Wow, I loved that hummingbird balloon and all the colours. I feel like I was nearly there, with the excellent closeups and great composition you have in these shots!Thanks for documenting this for your readers. . .you probably would have had to grow up playing with the Smurf toys to appreciate that balloon. There's that mystical something about balloons rising in the sky that gives the viewer hope (hey maybe man can fly, sort of. . .)

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    1. D.G Hudson: Thank you so much. Balloons make my heart soar with them. Always.

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  2. How could anyone watch all that and not smile. The hummingbird is really cool. Fun to see them in the twilight of the morning with their glow.

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    1. Alex J. Cavanaugh: It is a magical start to the day. The excitement of the onlookers is almost palpable.

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  3. Absolutely stunning EC, I do love the bird, made me laugh, ha ha ha ha..............

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    1. Bob Bushell: I loved it too. Of course.

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  4. The hummingbird is amazing but I think my favourite is the black faced balloon with the little bow tie. I have half as smile on my face as I read this, even at this very early hour.

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    1. Andrew: The smiler and his bow tie are at most of the festivals. I look for it each year. And yes, I love it too.

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  5. I absolutely adore your photos. I love seeing them too but have never been to anything like this. When we lived in California there used to be a landing spot not far from our house, and there was always one floating over and so low we could see the smiling faces looking down as they waved to us. Then they started building houses, no more landing spot and we mourned their loss.

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    1. DeniseinVA: We waved to the lucky fliers too. And when I was a flyer I waved to the earthbound. Aren't they wonderful?

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  6. Wow a wide choice of ballons we have International ballon. competitons here every year

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  7. I love this! I would love to be at one of these festivals. I love the polka dotted balloon best as it made such a lovey photo against that cotton candy sky.
    Lisa

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    1. Lisa: If you get the chance - go. It really is wonderful. Over too quickly, but wondeful just the same.

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  8. What a fantastic event you captured! I absolutely LOVE that hummingbird, but several others are wonderful, too. Thank you for including me in your adventure, EC. It was truly a great day!! :-)

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    1. DJan: It was a fortnight ago, and looking at the photos I am smiling all over again.

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  9. As a night owl similar to your SP, I was going to ask how many firecrackers you had to light under him to get him going that early :) (the moon still out!!)

    These are, as always, wonderful shots of an amazing event. I love the smile on the hummingbird, and those feet!

    So glad you got to enjoy the launching this year.

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    1. Hah - I just saw the smiley face balloon :)

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    2. jenny_o: The smiley face comes back each year, and I always welcome it. The hummingbird was ginormous - and very special. It did take some nudging to get the smaller portion up, but his early start was rewarded generously.

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  10. The hummingbird is fantastic. I've flown in hot air balloons twice & would to it again in a heartbeat!!

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    1. fishducky: I have flown before too, and loved it. I am not certain I could get into the basket these days - but would give it a very good try.

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  11. Dear EC
    Thank you for sharing this event - it's lovely to see so many balloons all at once!
    Best wishes
    Ellie

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    1. Ellie Foster: It is just wonderful to see the sky full of balloons. Really, really wonderful.

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  12. The Smurf is kind of cute, but looks a bit odd without a body. I love the hummingbird and have much admiration for the people who design and make these things. The first balloon shot where the light shows the colours from the inside is gorgeous. As is that full moon. It must be so much better to see this in real life than on screen here. I know I'd be spinning in circles wondering what to photograph first and next...

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    1. River: Lots and lots and lots of photos were taken. If I had been lucky enough to see them take off again when I went out for the second time I would have taken a whole lot more. It really is a photographic feast. And yes, my admiration for the designers is huge.

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  13. Oh I love the parrot balloon. We had a hot air balloon make an emergency landing in our neighborhood years back. That is the closest I have ever been to one. Nice that you and your brother do things together. Next year it will be a date with him. Maybe yall can go to lunch too.

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    1. Ginger Dawn Harman: We go to the balloons together most years. And a breakfast date would be the go. When the balloons are all in the air it is generally a little after seven.

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    2. That i8s awesome! I really think that cloe family bonds are a treasure when it is based on love, respect, and breakfast dates!

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    3. Ginger Dawn Harman: I have three (half) brothers. I am closest to this one, and we share a sense of humour. We talk often, and the balloons are a tradition. The first time I went up in a balloon it was to celebrate a significant birthday for him. The last (which he came on) was to celebrate a significant birthday of my own.

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    4. *snap* I have three half brothers, although one died many years ago now.

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    5. River: We were a small family and my half brothers are my only siblings. I never considered them anything but family though and punched the girl who lived next door when she told me that they weren't.

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  14. Such a beautiful morning filled with the right kind of hot air! How wonderful!

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    1. Marie Smith: And in our capital, which is noted for the other kind of 'hot air'.

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  15. The balloons are phenomenal but what really caught my attention was your use of the word 'tragic' and the explanation......I know, I'm weird....I just really like the sound of it used like that.

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    1. only slightly confused: One of our erstwhile prime ministers was a self-confessed cricket tragic. Sporting tragics are common here. And I feel no shame at being a ballooning tragic.

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  16. Ho ho these are beautiful! What a wonderful sight. There used to be a balloon that I often saw around here, shaped like a pot of paint with a paintbrush sticking out of the top.
    A few years ago, a local couple got married up aloft in a balloon, and it was reported in the local paper as "the first time a marriage had been consummated in a balloon"! The following week, there was a printed apology.... "celebrated" not "consummated"...... hehehe

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    1. Shammickite: I would love to see a paintpot balloon. I suspect that the odd relationship has been consumnated in a balloon, but am smirking at the paper's error. (If error it was.)

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  17. Thank you for sharing these they are spectacular, oh that bird balloon is calling me. My absolute favorite. We have a festival around here and I've yet to make it there, maybe this year.

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    1. Truedessa: When I saw your balloon poem yesterday I hoped you would swing by for this post. If you get the chance to see your festival - do it. Magic.

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  18. I love that hummingbird balloon. I wonder how people can afford them?

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    1. Birdie: They are hugely expensive and I think often run as a business venture. I wonder how people can afford to fly in them (particularly as a family group) much less own them.

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  19. This took me back to the days in Marin. The scenery was great. The snack bars were better.

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    1. Martin Kloess: Breakfast (of a number of types/cuisines) is provided. And I never bother. The balloons are my priority.

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  20. The balloons are lovely and bright! And we got a vocab lesson today too--thanks!

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    1. Bookie: A lesson in our weird slang perhaps... The balloons are lovely though.

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  21. As cute as the hummingbird balloon was I prefer the standard shape....They are all spectacular and your photos too!

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    1. Molly Bon: Thank you. My trigger finger was going gang-busters. I love them all.

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  22. Must have been thrilling to see them rise up in the sky. I am with the hummingbird and parrot. Smurfs have always seemed a bit creepy.
    My gr-daughter Clara, when she was 4, saw balloons up in the sky, and exclaimed, "Oh, look! God is having a birthday party!"

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    1. Susan Kane: A birthday party needs balloons. I like your grand-daughter's style.

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  23. What fabulous shots! I would love to have seen this with you.

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    1. Lady Fi: It is an annual treat for me, which I would very happily share.

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  24. The bird, definitely the bird!

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    1. Olga Godim: I think that everyone watching the hummingbird was smiling. I certainly was.

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  25. First of all, the full moon shot is superb! I love looking at the moon and stars. The balloons are especially beautiful at dawn, lit up from within like huge candles. The hummingbird is great...once it's inflated. While spread out on the ground it looked a bit sinister. Or dead. :)

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    1. River Fairchild: I too love watching the moon and the stars. And have a kazillion failed photos. Sometimes we get lucky. I agree with you about the hummingbird (and indeed balloons generally) on the ground. Definitely on the dead side. Lucky they can have several lives.

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  26. They are quite surreal to go up in.

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    1. J Cosmo Newbery: I think they are wonderful to ride in. Really, really wonderful. And quite astonishingly quiet when the burners aren't firing.

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  27. thanks for sharing - I'm not an early riser but that would have been worth the effort.. love the humming bird

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    1. Anna: My partner agrees with you. I am an early riser anyway but he is not. He does have hissy fits when we go and the balloons don't fly though. Which happened to him last year. I got him up twice and he was disappointed. The third time he refused to come - and we got lucky.

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  28. How delightful to see those photos, the morning sky, wow!
    Never have I been in a balloon and I don't expect I will be now.

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    1. Margaret-whiteangel: I thought it was a treat from beginning to end. I loved the moon, the balloons, the sunrise. And after that we went to the rose gardens followed by another treat. A most excellent day.

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  29. Hi EC - They are amazing aren't they - the hummingbird was a delight to see high in the sky ... and then your trip to the rose gardens ... I love seeing them around the UK when I'm travelling on a warm summer's day/evening ... delightful shots - cheers Hilary

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    1. Hilary Melton-Butcher: I quite often see one or two, but to see the sky filled with them is a very special treat.

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  30. Wonderful! Wnnderful!

    Cyclone Debbie would have had lots of fun with this balloons! She would've shown them no mercy! :)

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    1. Lee: Cyclone Debbie would have had no chance to wreak her wicked way with them. Much more gentle winds kept them grounded for most of the festival.

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  31. I love flying (in anything) and can only image how wonderful it feels to ride in a balloon. The hummingbird balloon is amazing. Such beautiful photos. Thank you for sharing such fascinating sights.

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    1. Mason Canyon: I don't like flying in anything with an engine. Balloons on the other hand...

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  32. Oh I love the polky-dot one! Looks like a ladybug.
    What fun and what gorgeous pics. Thanks for sharing, EC:)

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  33. Your excitement excites me! Thanks Dear

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    1. Cloudia: I was excited. And reviewing the photos I am excited all over again.

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  34. awwww very cool

    I'll bet that hummingbird is a crowd fav

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    1. Author R. Mac Wheeler: There were squeals of excitement for LOTS of the balloons. Which I may or may not have contributed to.

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  35. The balloons are indeed spectacular! The weather, is just that, the weather! I love the photos, especially of the scene that set the races, They are beautiful pictures.

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    1. Sienna Smythe: Thank you. I loved your balloon post too.

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  36. How perfectly beautiful. I am enthralled with the hummingbird. Once again I am envious of your opportunities!

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    1. Anne in the kitchen: It is an annual treat, and we know just how lucky we are. Even Mr Slug-abed knows how lucky we are.

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  37. YAY! And the one that makes me smile most is the Smurf balloon. What fun. Glad you got to see the show, and shared with us.
    Be well, EC.

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    1. Rawknrobyn: I am glad the Smurf had a particular fan, but I love them all. Hugs.

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  38. Hello Sue. How absolutely gorgeous. I'd have loved to have seen those balloons. How amazing! And that sunrise shot. Perfecto!

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    1. Denise Covey: I would have been more than happy to share the joy with rather a lot of bloggers. You included. The sunrise was a treat too. As they often are.

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  39. Just stunning! The hummingbird is perfect - so clever. Thank you, thank you. I'm extremely envious!

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    1. Alexia: I wonder how many pieces make up that hummingbird. I thought is was soooo clever, and loved the detail of its claws and smile.

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  40. My goodness - that Hummingbird balloon is quite something. I liked the black one too. As for using 'tragic' as a noun - I think its fabulous.

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    1. Kalpanaa M.: Tragics of the world unite? I liked all of the balloons, but am in awe at the skill that creating the Hummingbird required.

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  41. The hummingbird is beyond phenomenal of course, but my attention snagged on your use of the word tragic. Supercool to use it as a noun!
    March must be a fantastic month around your part of the world. Autumn is my fav season anyways.

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    1. Nilanjana Bose: March is a good (great) month here. Not least because the heat of summer is finally diminishing.

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  42. Unsuprisingly I'm another who particularly likes the bird, in fact I could probably be called a bird tragic without even a hint of exaggeration

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    1. Kim: I am a tragic on rather a lot of subjects.

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  43. Balloon festivals are just great.
    It never ceases to amaze me the wonderful colours you see.
    What a great selection of photographs.

    All the best Jan

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    1. Lowcarb team member: Thank you. And definitely no arguments on the subject of balloon festivals.

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  44. sometimes I go watch the balloons inflate at the Art and Air festival here, in August. But mostly I chase them, if the winds take them back towards town here, to see where they come down. One year a balloon came down in a backyard, another in a church parking lot. I wasn't here, but my now dead neighbor said he got nearly scared to death when he heard a terrible hissing noise, looked out his window, and a balloon was headed straight for his house, barely missing the corner of mine. Last minute it was able to clear his house and landed on the next street. Wish I'd been home for that! So yeah, I chase balloons to see them come down in people's private spaces and to hope it won't be in mine.

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    1. Strayer: On my first balloon ride the balloon landed safely in a paddock. The only problem was that the paddock was locked. It took the support crew quite a while to find the owner and get it unlocked so that the balloon could be taken away.

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  45. LOVE! Oh those balloons.
    Love the bird:)
    Thanks for sharing that moon, also.
    Gorgeous:)
    Much thanks and the biggest of hugs,
    Jennifer

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    1. Jennifer Richardson: We live in a beautiful world don't we? And how I love the addition of whimsy. Hugs back to you.

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  46. All those photos are grand, but I must say, I love the moon photo the most.

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    1. Lon Anderson: Seeing that moon (and capturing it with a camera) put the day off to a really good start.

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  47. Those are some amazing balloons. It got me thinking though...what would a night time balloon ride be like?

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    1. Robert Bennett: Challenging for the pilot and terrifying for the passengers I imagine. Taking off and landing without lights. Or none to speak of anyway. When/if you gained altitude it could be amazing.

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  48. Fantastic photos. I could just imagine taking that balloon ride high up in the sky.

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    1. Rasma Raisters: It is a wonderful experience. Really wonderful.

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  49. I'm not sure how I've missed this post seeing as I love to watch hot air balloons. I've found a company here which would take me up in my wheelchair though no-one would accompany me when asked. Love your photos and all the colors and that moon.

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    1. e: If we lived closer I would be with you in a heart beat. If the company would take you in a chair, they would surely also be able to accommodate my issues.

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  50. Your pictures from this balloon extravaganza are always gorgeous. I'm so glad the weather cooperated with you that one day so you could see them launch and take some pictures. The bird balloon is especially beautiful, and looks exactly like the balloon design meant to lift into the sky. Who knows? Maybe you and your brother will be able to soar in a hot-air balloon together.

    Thanks for explaining your use of the word "tragic." Nerds like me find that very interesting. :)

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    1. Susan: That brother and I have flown together. And loved it.

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  51. I've always wanted to go up in a balloon and see the lands from afar high in the sky.

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    1. Spacer Guy: It is a truly beautiful way to see the land. I really liked floating over water too.

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  52. Wonderful balloons. The birds and Smuff are so funny, I love them and all other ones too. I believe you had a great day.
    Hugs

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    1. orvokki: Thank you. We did have a wonderful, wonderful day.
      Have a lovely weekend, and a great week to follow.

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  53. I have never been to a balloon festival before- but every time I see a hot air balloon I smile. I have never ridden in one- but my co-author, Stephanie, has and it looked amazing. Your photos are beautiful. What a spectacular! I wish I could come next year to see it all in person. I am glad you were able to be there on one of the days they took off this year. Definitely sounds lucky!

    And look at that moon photo- fabulous! :)
    ~Jess

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    1. DMS ~ Jess: It was lucky. From start to finish. My moon photos are often abject failures. I got lucky there too.

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  54. I always enjoy seeing your photos of the balloons each year! And these ones are just as wonderful. That hummingbird balloon is so cool! Love it.

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    1. CountryMum: It is an annual treat for me, and I am glad that others also enjoy it. The Hummingbird was impressive wasn't it?

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  55. The hummingbird is my favorite, but they are all wonderful. That must have been amazing in person!

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  56. You're brave to have ever gone up in one in my opinion, the very idea . . . but how marvellous they look! I'm quite fascinated by the black one, it being the vintage symbol of Roberston's Jam over here, and one no longer considered useable due to the Golliwog issue. Interesting that it isn't an issue at your end. The humming bird is indeed an absolute cracker. I'm glad it all panned out ok in the end X

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    1. All Consuming: I didn't know that about the dapper black balloon. And haven't heard anyone raise the golliwog issue in years. We were super lucky, as so many people didn't see them take off.

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