Yesterday morning several pilots flew their balloons again.
This morning was the official opening of the big festival. We got up at 5:30 so we could get there early. We were fortunate enough to catch the shuttle bus so it only took a few minutes to get onto the field. Intel sent a balloon up first (in the dark) and then other balloons began filling up and setting asail by seven. All balloons had lifted off and many were landing again when we departed at 9:15.
We purposely didn't volunteer this morning so we could get a feel for how things go on the field and exactly what the volunteers do. And yes, sometimes the "chasers" really DO chase them down. They land where-ever the breeze takes them and it's up to the team that got them off the ground to get the balloon and all the gear back into the truck and back to the field. This morning the weather was so great that it seemed that many were able to circle and land on or near the field.
Tonight there was to be a "Twilight Glow" mass flight, but the wind picked up and now there is lightening. (now when I say wind..you Idaho folks would call it a good breeze) We stayed at "home" and watched the local TV channel to get the scoop on the event. See, they report on the Balloon Fiesta like channel seven in Boise reports on the BSU Broncos.
According to the reporters approximately 500 to 550 balloons launched today and there were approximately 80,000 people at the event this morning. The field is an 85 acres lawn and there is what they call "Main Street" where all the venders have their tents and booths - just like a State Fair.
The "Zebra" is just one of a hundred or better. They are the launch directors and each one that we saw wore something special - one guy had the striped shirt, a zebra-head hat and a tail hanging out the back of his pants. They all try to make it fun for the all ages.
I took a break from writing this entry so we could watch the huge fireworks show. We are looking forward to more of those during the week.
Tomorrow we get up even earlier as we have to meet our pilot at 5:45....wish us FUN!