WRAL Freedom Balloon Fest

I am always fascinated by things that fly or airborne. Hot air balloon is one of them that I had not seen in real life. I often see them in the TV news. I know there are some activities in the state where I live but the places are long drive away. They are probably also private. Seeing a real hot air balloon was on my wish list.

WRAL Balloon Fest 2014

I guess it was my lucky day a couple of year back to hear  WRAL (a local TV station) organized the WRAL Freedom Balloon Fest at two locations. One of the locations was just about 30 minutes away. I normally do not pay much attention for what is going around. I was glad to hear about the event. Yeah!

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The WRAL Balloon Festival is free for public. They even provided free shuttle bus rides from the nearby mall parking lot to the site that year. There were sponsors and volunteers to help running the event. Since I was aware of the event, the festival is a yearly event around Memorial day weekend.  It is really a nice idea that WRAL, sponsors and volunteers to organize and run the event for the community.

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The near location is not a really big open field but there were a fair number of balloons at the event. The event started early in the morning and ran to dusk. My plan was to get there in the evening to avoid hot sun and hoped to see balloons in the night sky.

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If you do not already know the process of how to get the balloon started airborne, the process to get the balloon airborne is interesting. It starts by putting air (“cold inflation”) using a fan to fill enough air into the balloon. Once good amount of air is inside the balloon, the frame is lit to make the air inside hot and that creates lift. Too bad, I did not recall this activity to look for during the event.

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I believe the word “Freedom” part of the festival name is relating to freedom as freedom of the nation. Seeing a man can float up in the air makes me think it is also another kind of freedom. It is the deeper desire of human to be free to go anywhere possible. It is the freedom from being tied down by this earth.

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Today we have much better ways of air traveling than by hot air balloons but I can imagine the slow and gentle floating up the air will give you a different feel. No rush to get somewhere, look around for views from the high up, enjoy breeze and fresh air.  Definitely, it is quite less complicate to get airborne than other means. It works with the same concept as we most already familiar with – boat floating on water! No, I am not at all trying to say it is an easy thing as making things float on water. The balloon may look simple but things that let it flyable are by far not simple.

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I saw this long rope on the grass . The rope looks pretty strong and fairly thick. It suggests to me that once the balloon is airborne it needs quite strong rope to hold it.  Hmm, it though it is supposed to be lighter than air 😉

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I did not touch the fabric of the balloon but it looks so light and thin. I am quite certain that entire balloon can be folded into very compact. The fabric are so colorful. I think it is the part that draws most attention when we seem them in the sky.

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It was a very fun event for everyone. I spot this young lady posing to her husband. I could not help taking a picture of her at the same time. I was wondering how she looked in the picture taken by her husband. I love sneaking taking picture of people being taking pictures 🙂

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Everyone looked relax and just enjoyed the afternoon summer time among in this fun event.WRAL Freedom Balloon Fest - 15

This picture is just to tell that I am not only a cat person. I also like dog a lot too 🙂

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I just love this scene, life full.

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The sun was low but it was going to be a while before the sun went down completely. I forgot that the day was long during summer time. I could not wait that long. Surprising, many people were still coming to the festival as I was leaving.
WRAL Freedom Balloon Fest - 19I hope you enjoy the balloon festival with me.