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.