We were fortunate to have two balloons land on our property during the Mass Ascension on Wednesday, October 10, 2007. The Bloomin' Balloon, sponsored by Merryvale Vineyards asked to land in our yard first and before they were completely down the French balloon landed right next to them. A language barrier (my limited french does not extend to ballooning terms!) kept us from helping the French balloonists but we were able to assist the Bloomin' crew. To the right is a picture of the balloon as it touched down in our wild area.
The Bloomin' Balloon lands in our wild area next to the drive way.
The crew of the French Balloon loads the truck
The French balloon didn't so much land in our yard as it did a semi-controlled crash. He landed right next to the Bloomin' balloon and then hopped two or three times until he ended in the wild area close to the road. Not waiting for his chase crew, he had the balloon deflated and packed up within 20 minutes.
Return to Earth
The Balloon deflates
The deflated balloon in our driveway
Here you see the balloon after it has been deflated. As the balloon deflates crew members pull the balloon toward the ground. Prior to deflating the balloon we covered some of the yucca and other vegetation with tarps to prevent damage to the balloon. Those of you who have been to the Sandhill Crane know there are tall pine trees just inside the wall on the right side of this picture. The pilot actually liked the pine trees as the needles are soft and don't cause a real problem with the balloon.
Packing the balloon into its storage bag is an exercise in team work. All hands pitch in to "walk" the balloon into the bag. As you place your part of the balloon into the bag you go to the end of the balloon and repeat the process. I was surprised to learn that the balloons are not carefully folded but rather pushed into the bag. Look carefully and you will see me helping out on the left side of the balloon.
Packing the Balloon
The Pilot, Crew and Sponsor of the Bloomin' Balloon
The Bloomin' Balloon team and their sponsor, Paul from Merryvale Vineyards pose in our yard before heading back to the field in their chase vehicle. Many of the balloons participating in the Balloon Fiesta have one or more sponsors that help cover the cost of participating in this event. Stephen and Lois Esser from Kutztown, PA are the owners of the Bloomin' Balloon. They were kind enough to make us honorary crew members which we celebrated with a champagne toast on our portal after the work was completed. We felt like we had made new friends and look forward to seeing them again next year.