Monday, June 6, 2011

Hot Air Balloon Race & Festival

We're all busy with jobs, summer classes, camps and trips, and yet the Ace Gang still finds ways to get together.  We have "red dot days" which are days we penned into our calendars at the beginning of the summer holidays on which we are all in town.  Those dots are few and far between.  So to make up for it, those of us who are in town try to plan small treats when we can.  
Thus we discovered the Helen Hot Air Balloon Race and Festival.
Not only were a few Ace Gang Members in town, but Cam and his friend Cameron (go figure) were up for the weekend from Georgia Tech.
Meredith happend to be perusing the newspaper and stumbled across this incredible event.  I highly reccommend stopping by to see the balloons launch in Helen.  They hold a race to the Atlantic from Helen annually and there is no cost for you to camp out, snack and take photos.
We were able to get right up beneath the balloons.  The gas was VERY hot, so I tried to snap shots in between bursts.  We weren't there for the race (they launched Friday morning, I believe) but came Saturday evening around seven when all the pleasure ballooners were taking off.  Stunning.  We sweat like pigs but it was worth it.  Next year we plan on coming in the morning for the start of the race, then go tubing!  Perfect combo.  
The balloons were all stored in long vans, which would pull forward and slowly puddle out the length of the material.  
Then they would take a large fan to fill up the majority of the balloon, and hook it up to the basket.  
Finally they would turn on the flame to fill the remainder.
Then they would climb in the basket and slowly lift off.
In no time they would float away.

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