National Balloon Classic
Let me start by telling you about the National Balloon Classic, the spark that ignited this blog. The Balloon Classic is held in a field east of Indianola, a small town just southeast of Des Moines. Indianola is literally only about 45 minutes from my home in Ames and yet, although I’ve lived here for 14 summers, I had never been to the Balloon Classic.
It turns out it was the best three bucks I ever spent.
I went on Friday, Aug. 6 for the evening balloon flight. I wasn’t really sure what to expect. The best thing about that evening was the weather – cool, calm, and hardly any humidity. A perfect night for ballooning. We sat in our chairs, listened to a great oldies band called Hold On, and watched the balloons inflate, take off, and land. Some of the balloons started from another rural location, and one of my favorite parts of the evening was watching all those balloons appear on the horizon, looking like a school of distant jellyfish, then slowly becoming more distinctive and colorful as they came closer. I loved that there were so many of them! I took about 300 pictures.
The Balloon Classic lasts about a week, and there are different things to do every day. This year, there were concerts most days, balloon flights every morning and evening, a few fireworks displays, state fair-style food (read: fried stuff), and other activities.
Next year, I definitely want to go to see the morning balloon flight. The idea of sitting there in my lawn chair with a cup of coffee, watching the sun come up and the balloons take off makes me smile. Next year’s National Balloon Classic is July 29 through August 6, 2011.