Todd, Shana, and Dane were the only ones willing to get up at 5 AM to travel an hour for the 48th annual Reno Balloon Races.
The sound system was pretty good! They played the national anthem and we all paid our respect to the flag and this great country in which we live.
I actually had tears in my eyes when the flag rose in the air with the sun shining through.
Our service men and women were also honored by the military flying 5 planes in different formations. There was a "Missing Man" formation and there was an accapella choir that sang to the different service groups.
They told us that 100 balloons would be launched this day. It was so much that we were only able to capture a small portion of what went on.
First all of the balloons were laid out flat in the fields. Just like the balloon on the ground behind Dane and Todd. This was done before we arrived.
A large gas powered fan is then used to inflate the balloon. Shana got a wonderful picture of inside the balloon by standing behind the fan.
We loved this picture of the moon blowing out a breath full of stars. The picture is on the very top of the balloon, so you would never see it if you were not there for the launch.
Once the balloon has been inflated with the enormous fan, a huge flame is shot into the balloon to heat the air inside.
There were about 70 hot air balloon teams that were going through these steps. ALL AT THE SAME TIME!!! In this picture you can only see 5, that gives you an idea of how much was going on and how little we were able to show you.
It was truly and awe inspiring sight to see these vibrantly colored balloons quickly fill with air, and raise to tower over you. I would say that the average launch time took about 20 - 40 minutes. So some of the balloons went from laying flat on the ground waiting for the flag ceremony... To be launched and in the air within just over 20 minutes. The remaining balloons were filled with air and waiting anchored as hand held radios and other supplies were loaded in the baskets. Talk about a festive fun atmosphere.
As we walked back to the car we captured this picture of 26 balloons. We counted just over 70 and saw that the remaining balloon teams were going out to launch their balloons. WOW!!! What a fun event!
We loved all of the specialty balloons! This panda was one of the first balloons to depart. They filled the main balloon with hot air so the balloon floated to a vertical position. Then a couple of ropes were pulled and the hot air began to fill up the nose.
This panda's nose is no longer flat. He actually turned out pretty well. There was also a big balloon for Wells Fargo that was in the shape of a stagecoach. It was about twice as wide as the panda.
Darth Vader turned out pretty cool too!
There was a little bridge over this irrigation ditch. It was kind of pretty seeing the balloons reflected in its glassy surface. We couldn't capture the whole effect, but at least you can get the idea of what it was like.