4th Of July Hot Air Balloon Festival
July 3, 2008 · Print This Article
The morning sun had not crested the east mountains at Provo’s 4th of July Hot Air Balloon Festival, when several hundred people gathered to see the launching of the balloons. Me… included. Every year, hot air balloons arrive from all over the country with their pilots and crew to entertain the crowd.
Usually, I don’t get out of bed to see the actual launching. Waiting until I can hear the “whoooshing” sound above my house, is my clue to arise from my bed and take a look toward the sky. I see a lot of balloons because there are several open areas near my home… so pilots can land safely.
This year, I braved the early morning (6:00) and ventured down to see the launch. What! people are up at this hour… including kids? It was worth it. It’s exciting to watch, as the pilots pulled their levers, and a blast of flame heated the air in the balloon… and I really enjoyed the event.
This whole idea was started by a couple of French boys who sent a duck and a pig skyward. No propane to heat the air in their makes shift balloon… so they used straw and manure. The animals survived… which convinced the king the mode of travel was safe for humans. Not to long after that, another Frenchman took the first flight.
Hot air rises when it’s next to cool air… that’s the reason balloons are launched in the cool of the morning. The pilot catches the wind current and directs the balloon. However, since it’s not an exact science…they can’t land back in the exact spot. They watch for an open area and lower the balloon. The crew follows the balloon from the ground to see where it lands. They drive the truck to the landing spot… and pack up the balloon until the next launch.
Last year, a balloon landed a block from my house. My granddaughters, Ella and Claire and I, ran over to take a look. I was surprised to see the balloon stuffed into such a small container. Like stuffing a sleeping bag into a small sleeve. We joined the crew in their celebration by drinking a toast to the journey. Martinellis all around.
P.S. I did a little video taping of the hot air balloons to share with you. It would help if I remembered how to use the camera. I thought the red dot in the viewer meant stop… and the green meant go. Makes sense to me. But no… just the opposite. So I have videoed my feet, the grass and heavens knows what all. I think it was just a little too early for me. Maybe I’ll go back in the morning…. I said, “Maybe.”
P.P.S. Enjoy the rest of the photos.