Saturday, October 18, 2014

Carolina BalloonFest 2014

A few years ago I decided that I love hot air balloons, and last year we decided to check out the Carolina BalloonFest in Statesville, North Carolina.  It is about two hours from our home, so it was a bit of a drive, but the idea of hot air balloons launching in those long hours before sunset had such ripe potential to be magical.  And it was.  It was an incredible evening last year, and this year we decided to do it again.

Hot air balloons are at the whim of the wind, so weather conditions need to be favorable before pilots will risk a flight.  When we arrived the wind was too strong, and the launch was delayed long enough that part of me started to feel discouraged.  Luckily, a loud horn sounded, which was the go ahead, and immediately balloons started to take shape, and mounded forms stretched and rose from the ground.  When the first hot air balloon took flight, there was hollering and applause - we were all relieved that the launch had taken!

Our dear friends (and nearly family), the Hills.  They are our partners for so many of our adventures in this state as we are growing up our kids together.  Traditions are always happy with these guys around!

Isn't this incredible?  It's like a valley of sleeping giants, all waking up together.  Below is one of my favorite photos of the day.  Orion was only 11 months last year when we came last year, so this experience was like seeing it all for the first time.  He kept running off towards the balloons, absolutely fascinated by the flames, the colors, the giantness of it all...

A few more favorite photos.  A sweet one of Marcos with the kiddos, and Orion and I with that look on our faces.  (What were we even looking at?)

One thing particularly special about this year was the bubble man.  A vendor selling light up sticks and bubble machines walked around with a demo bubble machine, whirling hundreds and hundreds of bubbles into the air at one time, and it was so much fun for the kids.  Between the balloon launch, fair foods and funnel cake, free bounce houses for the kids, the bubble man and Albannach - my favorite Scottish band who plays a concert every night during the balloon festival - it was the perfect fall celebration.    

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