Billions and Billions of Balloons = Mass Ascension

It was cold on the morning of Mass Ascension. Only about 42 fun-loving degrees. Brrrr! There was a lot more traffic than we had been experiencing the past few days driving into Balloon Park. But it was a Saturday, and Mass Ascension is a BIG DEAL, so it was understandable. I was nervous, like I was every day, until we were parked and through the gates. Then I settled down. We made our way over to "our" bleachers, and, oh no! There were already people all over them! I climbed right up to the top (only about 5 rows) and plopped my butt down. I was prepared this time, though. I brought a blanket to sit on to protect myself from the ice cold of the steel bleacher. Jim could have squeezed next to me, and I really wouldn't have minded the body heat, but he was content to walk around. There was a HUGE crowd of people there already, and it was only about 5:40 AM! There was so much excitement in the air! Instead of just one balloon going up in the Dawn Patrol, there was going to be 10. The balloons were all lined up to the right of us. Pretty soon they began to fill up, their large shapes looming in the dark. They all lit up together and it was gorgeous. Click on the photo to enlarge it to better see the balloons.

Then one by one they lifted off.

They lit up the blackened sky like huge jewels.

Soon enough it was dawn and time to start the Mass Ascension. First it begins with the National Anthem. The American Flag was carried up by two balloons in the dawn's light.

And then the excitement really started. The field just exploded with balloons. One after another balloons began to fill up, bumping into one another on the field. How could they all fit? It was absolutely amazing. Yet, they all took off like a carefully choreographed dance.

Who said there aren't angels among us?

Every time a balloon launched, you could hear a loud cheer erupt from the crowd that was surrounding the balloon. It was like that scene from The Wizard of Oz when the Wizard take off in his balloon. The crowd just cheered when this balloon had lift off.

You can just see the wind streams by the pattern of these balloons.

Just when I thought there couldn't possibly be more, a second wave popped up and launched.

Balloons as far as the eye could see!

What was so unbelievable was that these balloonists land wherever they can - an open field, someone's backyard, a parking lot, even next to the expressway!

We were driving home from one event and saw these balloons flying over the highway.

This one landed right next to the Cracker Barrel Restaurant.

These two landed in what I hope was an open field next to the campground.

We had the most wonderful time at the Balloon Fiesta. I would recommend it to ANYONE - young and old. I hope you enjoyed joining me on my trip. I'm all ballooned out!
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