Saturday, June 13, 2009

Annual Jamesville Hot Air Balloon Fest

There are annual town and regional traditions that we, as residents, look forward to every year. The area surrounding my town (the metro Syracuse area) has so many it's difficult to keep track. In the winter, they have a pretty big festival, aptly named "Winter Fest", and if you are familiar at all with my blog, or watch the Weather Channel at all, know that we are, very often the winner of several 'most snowfall' awards and are known for our annual snowfall totals. To go along with that, we will have the "Jazz Fest", "Oldies Fest", "Greek Fest", "Apple Fest", just to name a few.

Having said all that, I note that we are just beginning the summer season and top of the list is the annual "Jamesville Balloon Fest", which is in it's 30th year. About a mile or so down the street from me, is the Jamesville Beach County Park. There is a nice sandy beach, plenty of shady woodland picnic areas, pavilions that can be reserved for private parties, play areas for the kids, row boats for rent, fishing spots. In the summer they hold swimming lessons for the 'little fish' and most summers they host a weekly concert evening that residents can bring a lawn chair and enjoy the musical entertainment of the big band sound, oldies, jazz, symphony, etc. played by various bands and groups. Not surprising, they usually draw a pretty good crowd.

So, back the the Balloon Fest which is always held on the 2nd weekend of June. It starts Friday evening and runs through Sunday evening. The Balloons are scheduled to go up at sunrise and sunset through the weekend. The only time the lift-off is scrapped, is if the rain is coming down or the winds are too strong.

About 7 years ago, myself, my Mom and a family friend had purchased tickets for a balloon ride on the Sunday morning flight (not too bad, about $125 if I remember correctly). The rides usually last an hour or so, depending on the winds and other variables and include the traditional champagne toast upon a safe landing. The people that own the property that the balloon lands on are usually invited to participate in the toast. My parents have had them land in their side yard many times. We arrived at the field at about 5am...ready to go, only a little bit apprehensive, but excited beyond all reason, only to have it postponed because of the misty rain that had begun to fall, then about an hour later, cancelled when the misty rain became a rainy morning. I can't tell you how disappointed I was! I had camera in hand, one of my friends was going to watch (from the ground, I tried to talk her into going, but to no avail) with her camera as well.

Besides the obvious hot air balloons, both traditionally shaped and speciality shaped, (over 2 dozen that come from near and far), there are bands that play through the weekend (remember "Orleans", "The Fabulous Thunderbirds", "Night Ranger"?) to entertain the masses, crafts to purchase, amusement rides, so many food tents that your mouth will water and various beverages (for children and adults as the fest is co-sponsored by Bud Light). In the evening they have the Balloon Glow after dark, which is really something to see. Admission is only $5 for adults...can you think of a better to entertain yourself for just $5?

These are a few pictures that I took a couple of years ago. I prefer to go to watch the morning flights, it's so peaceful and the crowds are way smaller. Unfortunately, over the years, my best balloon pictures were taken with my 35mm camera and I don't have my scanner hooked up. These are pictures that I have taken with my digital.

(above: watching the balloon being filled)

(above: partially filled)

(above: almost there)

(above: a few balloons that have taken flight)

(above: Another special shaped balloon. The kids love these!)

(above: waiting for the next one to go up)

(above: the morning crowd isn't too bad.)

1 comment:

  1. they are so amazing...i'd love to take a ride in one some day!
    have a lovely week



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