Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Greatest Show Off Earth

It's that time of year...Balloon Fiesta time!  There are events scheduled every day between the 1st & the 9th, including balloon glows, mass ascensions & special shapes rodeos-visit the Fiesta website to see the event schedule.

Did you know that there's a directory of the Special Shapes that will be attending? The Wells Fargo stage, "Cent'r Stage", will be there, along with Airabelle the Creamland cow, Pandy, the Haunted Mansion, Smokey, Little CopDarth Vader, & more!  This year I hope to see Iwi the Kiwi from New Zealand.

On the website, make sure you check out the Guest Guide.  This has FAQs & handy information about tickets, park & ride, directions, RV information, & tours.  They are even offering a Bike Valet service this year! Avoid congested traffic and parking conditions near Balloon Fiesta Park by riding your bike.

You can even enter your photographs in a contest!  Best of show wins a Nikon D3100 Camera Outfit!

Let's not forget the hard work of Balloon Fiesta Launch Directors (ZEBRAS-they'll be the ones sporting zebra striped outfits at the Balloon Fiesta). "These dedicated volunteers have had hours of training before going on the field to coordinate a balloon launch. They handle crowd control, observe pilots, and work with them to get their balloons safely off the ground every morning during Balloon Fiesta. Every Zebra checks to see that every balloon is airworthy and that there is no damage to the either the envelope or the basket. They then let the pilots know where they will be standing and what hand signals to look for during the launch sequence. They also discuss wind conditions and the traffic directly overhead. The Zebras then walks each pilot out to a clear area near the launch site. When the skyway is clear, the Zebra blows his whistle and gives a 'thumbs up' signal letting the pilot know he is clear to take off," explains the website.

The Balloon Fiesta needs more volunteers, including Field Services (help setup Balloon Fiesta Park, outdoor manual labor) & Balloon Discovery Center (educational center, help guests with the hands on exhibits). Apply online!

To learn more about hot air ballooning, check the library catalog using the subject heading "ballooning".

The Balloonist's Prayer
May the winds welcome you with softness.
May the sun bless you with its warm hands.
May you fly so high and so well that God
joins you in laughter and sets you gently
back into the loving arms of Mother Earth.

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