Up, Up and Away!

The weather here in lower Alabama has been absolutely delightful lately - clear blue skies and not too hot, but not too cold either!  The ideal weather for rural fairs, which is what dad and I did last weekend.  Foley was hosting its annual hot air balloon festival, so we made our way across the county to check it out.  I tell you what...it was worth the trip!

We arrived to find a fairly empty field with people in lawn chairs all around the perimeter.  There was no one to stop us, so we made our way right into the middle of the field where a few hot air balloons were being pulled out of big bags and stretched out flat, ready to be inflated.  We chose a spot near a brown one with a sort of beigey top, since it had its fans going and was slowing being blown up.  As we waited, truck after truck pulled up and laid out more balloons on the field.

Inflating hot air balloons is slow going, and takes quite a few hands to "fluff" them (technical term) so that the air can get in.  I was just snapping photos right and left, and the next thing I knew, we were completely surrounded by half-inflated balloons.  (Very cool!)

As the balloons became nearly inflated, the baskets were laid on their sides and attached, then it was time for the HOT air which would make the balloon float.  With so many balloons around us blasting flames of hot air into them, the field got hot pretty quick.

^^The brown one was Smokey the Bear!^^

Slowly, one by one, the balloons took off, drifting into the clear blue sky, accompanied by applause from all the onlookers.  It didn't take long for the sky to be dotted with the colorful balloons.  (Just as quick as the balloons left, so did the trucks, chasing their balloons to the landing spot.)

While dad and I waited for the sun to go down we wandered around the fairgrounds and grabbed some dinner from one of the vendors.  Once dusk came, all of the balloons had returned for the "Glow".  In the dark, when the balloons blasted the fiery hot air, they glowed bright (some brighter than others).  Since too much air would cause them to take flight again, the glows were brief and you had to have your camera ready!

It was a great afternoon, and the perfect excuse to get outside and take some photos! (As you can see, I took quite a few!) 

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