Friday, August 10, 2007
Full of hot air
Up, up and away
London, Ontario, August 2007 [Click to enlarge]
Another London Balloon Festival has come and gone. We took the kids one night to see the launch. It was quite a show: as we arrived, a dozen or so balloons were laid out on the grass of Harris Park, a beautiful piece of land framed by the Thames River on one side and a steep river valley wall on the other. Thousands of people converged on the site, gathering informally around each balloon as the ground crew carefully unrolled the envelope and prepared the equipment for flight. Of all the festivals we have in this burg every summer, this is easily the coolest one.
Organizers sent about a dozen brightly colored airships into the sky that evening. I took over 550 pictures of the proceedings (I know, I'm insane), but what stuck in my mind more than the balloons themselves was the way our kids watched them. They've seen these things before, but this year they weren't afraid of the burners and the billowing balloons. They asked countless questions about hot air balloon flight. They picked up my wife's camera and took their own pictures. They drank in this spectacle that seemed to overwhelm the senses long before the first balloon headed into the sky. They grew.
Their horizons expanded just a little that night, and I got to watch.
Your turn: A childhood experience that stands out for you would be...?
More links: Facebook event, Wiki entry, old Balloon Life article, LondonTopic.ca photo gallery.