Up, Up and Away

By Mark

We live fairly close to the Bealeton Flying Circus, and I often see their biplanes flying over my house.  In the 13 years I’ve been here, I’d never made it down there.  This weekend they had a hot air balloon regatta, so Sarah and I headed down to see the show.  One of the items on my photographic bucket list is to visit the annual Albuquerque balloon festival in New Mexico.  That festival has hundreds of balloons and tens of thousands of spectators.  The one in Bealeton was a bit more modest. 

The aeronauts were scheduled to take off starting at 5 PM, so we got down there about 4:30.  The airshow folks were still giving biplane rides, including aerobatic ones for the brave of heart. 

There is still something magical about watching these canvas, wood and wire open cockpit machines take to the sky.   

.   I plan to go back and take one of the rides here soon. 

When the wind finally died down a little bit, the vans and trucks with the baskets and the balloons started to unfold across the property.  

In the nice light of the late afternoon each balloon showed off their unique and colorful patterns.  The giant bass pro balloon had quite a bit of 3D detail.  Seeing the biplane buzz it was pretty interesting.  Frank Luke-anyone?

The kiddie train made a nice contrast as the balloons were inflating.

Each balloon represents a significant investment in time and money.  Seeing the crew working inside the envelope reminds you of just how big they really are. 

Filling them up with hot air is like throwing money in a hole. It takes quite a few people to hold the balloon down on the ground—they really want to go flying.  Of course people got to pay for a ride.  We were quite content watching from the ground.

My favorite was the really brightly colored striped pattern.  It was a good photographic subject.   

At the end of the day we watched them float off into the sunset.   I am glad Sarah saw the little blurb in the paper for this local treasure.