Posts Tagged ‘great midwest balloon festival’


38.6 Hot Air Balloon Festival – Quilts in the Sky

November 22, 2015

Hello! I am working back through some wonderful experiences I would love to share with you extending back this fall.

The first was a month ago, the Great Midwest Balloon Festival. Normally held in August, but this years’ later time gave us opportunity to view the pretty leaves of fall in addition to the pretty balloons.

I am pretty much a sucker for quiet events, balloons, fall, outdoors, the park.

I see balloons as “quilts in the air”. So pretty color combinations, I see bargello style ‘quilts’, applique, chevron, patchwork, jelly roll stripes all sorts of quilts and styles up in the sky.

Orange, yellow, and brown hot air balloon

There is usually a big festival with rides, vendors, food, competition.  Every year since I have planned attending, I have gone on my own for the morning competition, rather than viewing the pretty balloon glow that draws so many others.

This year, the balloon festival was near last year, on the west side of the city, near the speedway, but actually closer to our annual permanent location of the Renaissance Festival grounds.


The first day of the festival was misty and windy so it was cancelled for the early morning part of the day, not reopening until the night glows on Saturday.

Sunday morning, rather than head to the crowds, I took refuge in the local next door county park. It was so beautiful. The balloons had to travel past the park to head to the festival grounds.


I originally hesitated heading to the park due to the presence of “many people” on the southern park entrance that were racing a 5K blocking that entrance. Luckily, I got brave enough to try a more northern entrance, so I wasn’t doomed to see the pretty “sky quilts”.

I tore through the park, under the trees, walking to an “upper ridge” area in the middle of some kind of cross country track in the middle of the park grass.


From my vantage point, I could hear the hot air balloons pass over me. The black balloon with the rabbit, carrot, and parrot was “right above me” poking out of the trees, a little behind where I chose to stand for most of the morning.

I remember feeling in awe of that hot air balloon.


I saw balloons coming from the east of the morning, using the trees as interesting frames for some of my shots.


I have some close pictures, some far pictures. I snapped many versions of the same picture, just seconds apart, just to ensure I got a good picture. I kept wishing I had a DSLR.




Some balloons I have multiple full-on shots of, a few of the more interesting ones were out of frame a little to the south. I found I liked staying in one general area.

Another “park photographer” had set up not too far from me, and both of us were looking around behind, in front, to the side, trying to get the best of the morning.





Later in the morning, before the last of the balloons, I ventured near one of the park shelters. This got me a picture of a couple of balloons nearby the structure too.



I tried to zoom and tried not to zoom sometimes to get the bigger picture of the hot air balloons.



Sometimes I get a sense of the hot air balloon movement by looking at three consecutive pictures taken right after another.


I took way more pictures than I ever posted. It was so beautiful and magical!

If you want to see my whole flickr set, which is over 70 pictures, follow the link below:

GM Balloon Fest on flickr

Stay tuned and I will talk about actual quilts soon. I have several things to share!


32.0 This Year’s Balloon Festival 2013

August 17, 2013

Last weekend I attended the early morning competition for the Great Midwest Balloon Festival.

I went to the mall parking lot where the competition was, and the balloons all went north of us. All of them.

But I got a few pictures of the tethered balloon that was up for about a half an hour or so.

tethered balloon rides

Well I got other pictures too, but the rest of them are pretty far away.

mosaic balloon 2013 gmballoonfest 1

1. rainbowballoonincenter, 2. rainbowbargello, 3. threecolorfulballoons, 4. southwestballoon2, 5. rainbowandgreenchevron, 6. orangeballoon, 7. onetwothreeballoons, 8. greenweaveballoonandarrows2, 9. yellowballoon, 10. wickedballoon2, 11. whitetigerballoon, 12. blueredwhiteballoon

I zoomed in on what I could, but the saturday was nice, nice day weather wise, but I wanted big up close pictures like last year.

Everyone was supposed to hit the target, and the winds had changed from when they had the preflight briefing until the actual launch time. So no one hit the target.

Part of the challenge, they said, was everyone had their own launch site, figuring out where to launch from to pass over the mall where we were all waiting.  As a result of variable launch distances & wind speeds, some balloons were closer than others.

Happy and pretty nonetheless.

The next day I decided not to do the same thing, but to head towards the west some.  The balloons had traveled west on Saturday and I sorta followed some of them out of town.

So Sunday, I went to a nature preserve that on Saturday would have been right in the path of the balloons.


….If you look REALLY closely between the two trees you see the faint hint of  a hot air balloon WAY off in the distance….

But of course now I was farther away from the balloon action, they were heading north not west (as much). As much as I liked my prairie hike, I wanted another chance to walk & see the balloons not at the festival, so I went toward civilization, and the balloons, and headed towards another nature center.


1. rainbowballoonnaturecenter2, 2. blackwithrainbowdrops3, 3. rainbowballoonnaturecenter5, 4. balloonroadeclipse

I kinda got into the hot air balloon adventuring idea and that sustained me for a while. One of the above photos was taken from the Wally-World parking lot. Impromptu.

But the nature center was where I was high enough to see the balloons over the tops of the trees, but now I was a little too far east.

At this point, I decided to take some pictures, and walk the trails to see if I could get closer. I couldn’t, but it was a very fun & adventurous weekend. Patchwork of a different kind!