Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Would You Want to Ride In a Beautiful Balloon?

This past weekend, Binghamton, New York enjoyed its annual Spiedie Fest and Balloon Rally. I was fortunate enough to attend this year - many years I don't, and last year I had a family reunion.

This year, I had a weekend full of concerts, a balloon launch, a chance somewhat close encounter with a Disney star, and a lot of crowds. (Saturday the attendance was about 62,000. Not bad, as Binghamton's population is about 47,000.)  And, oh yes - there are spiedies.

I'll blog about spiedies (our regional food) in future post.  But for now, a little taste of the hot air balloon part of the festival.

The lovely part is how close you can get to the balloons and see all the steps from inflation to launch. I will blog more about that later this month.  For now -


A lovely overview.
A closeup of a gondala as a balloon launches.
And another one launches.

This year, I've spoken to several people who have ridden in those hot air balloons and a couple of people have asked if I've ever gone up in one.  The answer is no, and the reason is that, many years ago, there was a balloon accident in this area on landing, and people were thrown out of the basket and seriously injured.

It also seems to be this is an expensive ride - over $100, with no guarantee you will be up more than a few minutes.  Am I afraid of heights? Not that much, although I did chicken out of Chattanooga, Tennessee's Incline Railway at the last minute when I saw how steep the first few feet were. (Gulp).

But I can also tell you how it feels when you are around these launches.  The feeling is incredible, almost indescribeable. You feel like a little kid, almost wanting to stomp your feet in glee.

Have you ever been up in a hot air balloon?  Would you recommend it to others?


12 comments:

  1. I, too, wonder if acrophobia would set in. But, maybe that's why their rides' duration are so short. (But $100 for 10 minutes?)
    As Marilyn McCoo and the 5th Dimension crooned... "Up, Up, and Away..."

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    1. I agree - the cost is, to us, not worth it - I'd rather spend $100 on a nice motel room in a nice area as part of a vacation.

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  2. Pretty to watch from the ground but don't have the nerves for this myself.

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    1. I'm not sure I would, either, and I don't want to find out the hard way!

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  3. I haven't been up in one, but I grew up in Albuquerque. Every fall hundreds of hot air balloons would fill the skies. It was awe-inspiring!

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    1. I want to visit the Albuquerque festival very much. My husband even has a cousin living in ABQ! But somehow it never happens.

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  4. I love hot air balloons - they are so majestic and beautiful.

    I cannot imagine how they are romantic if you and your sweetheart are passengers - wouldn't the operator almost kill the mood?

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    1. I don't think I would go up for the romance - that is a good point. And if the pilot was your sweetie, it would be even worse - he or she would be too busy piloting the balloon to pay much attention to you!

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  5. It's funny to read this post just as our local Hot Air Balloon Festival is coming up in the Lewiston/Auburn area of Maine. I've never been in one, but they are fascinating to watch, from setup to flying.

    We actually had one go off course a few years ago and ended up doing an emergency landing in our yard! Had no idea what that weird sound was, and looked out the window to see the balloon just above the treeline!

    A bunch of people arrived to help, plus just to watch and take pics. I also got some interesting pictures that day of the balloon landing, the people deflating the balloon, rolling, and packing it into the van.

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    1. I've heard that (around here, anyway) some balloon companies will give a homeowner where they land a bottle of bubbly as a "thank you" but not sure if that's true. Our city plot would be too small for anything but a toy balloon to land on!

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  6. Oh absolutley! I'd love to ride in a hot air balloon, it's something that I'd like to do in the near future!

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    1. I hope you get your wish. I know people who have taken rides, (one has done it twice) and report it is a great experience.

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