30 July 2017
This weekend is going to be an exciting one, Flat Kathy,” announced Paprika at breakfast one morning. “It’s the 35th annual New Jersey Festival of Ballooning, the largest summertime hot air balloon and music festival in North America.”
Ooh, now doesn’t that sound quite marvelous?
My friends explained to me what it is all about: If weather conditions permit, over 100 hot air balloons ascend into the sky. Can you imagine that? Wow. Some of those balloons are funny shapes like Darth Vader, a Pepsi can and a barn, just to name a few. Most of the balloons are the shape you normally think of when you think of a hot air balloon. They are all very colorful. Paprika and Oregano are lucky enough to live a mile from the festival grounds. Some years the balloons float right over their house and land in their street. According to my friends, it’s an exciting weekend in the area with lots of activities.
“But, Flat Kathy, there’s no guarantee that they will be able to launch,” cautioned Oregano. “Balloons are very finicky means of transportation. They can only launch in the early morning or early evening hours. If the wind is stronger than 10 mph, they can’t fly. Any bad weather will prevent a launch. Pilots fly the balloons, but they can only control how high up the balloons go. The wind decides in which direction the balloon will travel.”
Oh gosh! Can you imagine being in the air and unable to steer? I’m not sure I’d like that.
Every year, Paprika and Oregano host friends and family with hopes of seeing the balloons. This year, though, the weather was a bit uncertain. Luckily, Cheerio is a science teacher. He determined the direction of the wind and we walked towards the fairgrounds to see the balloon launch. The winds were right on the limits of what is considered safe for a launch. We knew there was a good chance that we wouldn’t see any balloons. Paprika thoughtfully prepared me for what might be a disappointing night.
We all walked up to the fairgrounds. It was a lovely walk down a country road lined with corn fields. It was so pretty! When we arrived at the entrance to the festival, we waited for the balloons to launch, but after waiting for an hour, we learned that it was too windy for the balloons to ascend safely. Even though we were disappointed, we had a lot of fun on the walk there and back.
We snapped a funny photo of all of us lying on the ground and looking up, waiting for the balloons.
The day of our departure for our big trip to Iceland is approaching. I’ll keep you posted!