02 October 2010

Balloon Fiesta!

2 Oct 2010--Got up before dawn today to go down to the balloon field where they hold the Balloon Fiesta, a 10 day event, every year. It is like a carnival, with vendors, games, hot dogs, etc., and lots of balloons.

We weren't sure if they were going to have lift-off because when we went to bed last night it was windy and raining off and on, but we got up to check the weather bright and early anyway. The weather looked fine this morning, so we left at 5:15 AM....didn't get there till almost 6:45 AM...an hour and a half to go about 12 miles due to abominable traffic!!! We had to park about a 1/2 mile from the field, so this was our 1st view as we came into the balloon area.

They were scheduled to launch at 7 AM, but were a little delayed, so we made it in plenty of time to see everything as they got started. It was a bit cool, but not windy, so everything went as planned. We were initially told by someone that they would launch about 1500 balloons today, but later we were told 500-700 was more like it. They also said that they generally had about 100,000 people on the 1st day of the event, and based on the traffic I believed them!
Within 10 minutes of the 1st balloon launch balloons were everywhere. Everything is so colorful and pretty...it is very exciting being in the middle of all these balloons as they are launching. I was surprised that they let the spectators mill about amongst all the balloonists.

As the morning went on clouds came up behind us.

Check out these guys. Most people are launching in baskets, but these guys are more precariously seated in what looks like home-made contraptions.

Here are some of the dozens of personalized balloons that were really cool looking.

The "peace" signs are for Hallie! She is an old hippie! haha

I love the colors in this 1st balloon, and Cathy and I are going to make the 2nd guy our mascot...looks like a tourist!!!
Everyone claps when they launch the bigger balloons. These bumblebees are regulars at this event, except this year there are 3 of them...usually there are only 2 so everyone was saying they had a baby! haha
This balloon looks like the scarecrow from The Wizard of Oz, and then looks all happy as he is fully blown up.

And now a Cactus for Hallie...she told me she wanted pics of them, and so far I can't find the kind she wants, so this is for you Hallie!

Along with all of the balloons, they hold a wood carving contest where they use chainsaws to do the carving. They said they use California Redwood and the contestants have 22 hours to make their masterpieces.

Nice day today. Glad we got up to go see it.


  1. So glad I looked at my e-mails before heading out to my Mum's house. Balloon pictures are great. It must have been incredible with that many balloons taking off at once. They say "the early bird catches the worm"... looks like you guys caught a big one!!! This is another one of the events that I had read about but wasn't in the area at the time.....something else to add to my list. Thanks again for sharing.

  2. Wow, wow, wow!!!!! Awesome and just cool. What a really cool event!

  3. Great pictures, wrong kind of cactus. The cactus u took pictures of r they getting ready to bloom. Keep looking for the three arm cactus. Today is Sunday and didn't get u plates

  4. jack loves the balloons.

  5. I like penquin and tweetybird.

  6. hi Paula and Cathy,
    Ilove the penquin the most. Did the balloons hit eachother?

  7. The kids loved this blog. I had to blow up each picture. jack was really fascinated. He had a lot of questions. This is really beautiful. I don't know how so many can safely go up? I'd NEVER do it there.
    Kristine loves the carousal best. I love all the pretty colored ones.
    The carvings are amazing. jack picked upon the face in the eagle right away.

  8. Well, I am certainly glad that everyone enjoyed the balloons...I think all the colors are so captivating! Kaleigh, I didn't see any of the balloons really bang into each other, but I am sure they hit each other on the way up because they are on top of each other on the ground!!! We loved the penguin too cause he looks like a tourist and that is what we are!!!

  9. These pictures are great! So colorful. I love the "stork" Julie