Every year, New Jersey hosts the Quick Check Festival of Ballooning and each year we go out to watch. We do not pay to go see the concerts or enter the grounds but have found a secret (and free) location from where to watch 😉
At first, balloons start dotting the horizon and are best seen with a pair of binoculars, but beautiful to the naked eye.
When they have all made their ascent, on a beautiful clear night like last night, it is really a remarkable sight. Every color, shape and size. From the ground you can hear the faint roaring of the fire that is the only fuel that keeps these massive balloons afloat.
We then change locations to try and see some of these giants up close, skimming residential neighborhoods and treetops. It was clear that several would make there descent in a distant park.
We followed on foot after that, waiting for several to touch down. It is really amazing to see these baskets lower completely in control and so softly. The balloons hover for as long as the pilot keeps it there until a member of their team pulls a cord attached to the top of the balloon and lays it on the ground. Many teams do not want ‘hands-on’ spectators – lucky for us, the boys came across Mark Fritze and his Freedom Flyer. Once he landed, he made it clear that even the smallest spectators were welcome to help him pack up his massive balloon.
He methodically instructed the kids to roll carefully, with no sharp objects in their hands or pockets to completely deflate the balloon. They were also given a chance to handle it and pack it in it’s sack.
He answered every question that Gavin could throw at him and gave these kids a fabulous experience. Add to resume – packed a hot air balloon!!
At the end of the evening, the boys recieved a “Freedom Flyer” balloon trading card! They also ran over and got one from the Pepsi balloon. I think we’ve found a new collection to pursue 🙂