We had been planning this trip for a few weeks, and in recent days a number of local television stations had been running commercials for it enhancing my overall anticipation. We debated actually flying in to the airport for the airshow, but because the airport shuts down for about 6 hours during the aerial portion of the show, it limited our options to leave – and with an 18th month old, we didn’t feel comfortable being trapped. Plus, since the airport is only about an hour drive away, we opted to drive.
The airshow spans Friday through Sunday, with Friday being the practice day and Saturday/Sunday being the actual air shows days.
Friday evening was a hot air balloon glow, and being free, we decided to go up to see what it was all about. We got to the airport around 7:45pm, parked, and immediately began seeing hot air balloons popping up everywhere.
The main hot air balloon event was early Saturday morning, so our expectations on Friday was to see balloons up, but not flying. In fact, a couple of balloons were offering tethered rides to kids in return for donations to charity. To our surprise though, a few balloons did take off.
We found sort of a choice spot to watch all of the festivites, though it was not crowded and one didn’t really need a seat. We ended up standing near an older couple, who by their dress I would peg as Mennonites. The lady was interested in Isaac and his fascination. We talked with her for a bit, and she made it very clear she had never seen anything like this before and basically thought it was the neatest thing ever. I think Annie felt much the same way.
We had a prime viewing spot for the Sunny Balloon Team and the inflating of their Cameron Z-77 77,000 cu. ft balloon. Note how from the pictures it’s getting darker and darker out, but in the image with the flame how well lit the picture is. The burner on these balloons is massive, and the flame is bright and very hot even from our distance.
Nearby was a balloon giving tethered rides. The line showed there was quite a bit of interest.
Of course, Isaac made friends with just about everybody nearby. He spent some time on a golf cart talking with two Toms (Tom-Tom as they referred to themselves), getting stickers, and other things that are just insanely exciting to a little kid.
About 8:50, we headed for home, knowing we’d have a long day on the return trip for the airshow.