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The 41st Quechee Hot Air Balloon Craft & Music Festival was held on September 3-5, 2021, in Quechee, Vermont. Trevor and I hopped on the motorcycle and went for a ride! We headed for the festival on Friday, September 3rd, and we are so happy we did. What an amazing experience!
The weather was nice, a bit breezy, and it was questionable if the balloons would be able to take flight for the 5:30pm balloon ascension.
The gates to the festival opened at 3pm on Friday. There were all kinds of food vendors and that is where we headed first!! We opted for the Gluten Free BBQ and it didn’t disappoint! There was the usual festival food as well, hamburgers, hot dogs, french fries; and also, a crepe cart, a grilled cheese & soup vendor, wood fired pizza, kettle corn and ice cream. A very large selection of food and everything we had was great!
There were several craft artisans and commercial vendors who filled the tents and grounds with unique, fun, and beautiful products. There was musical entertainment, a kid’s zone, skydivers, dog performances and more, and of course, the main attraction, the hot air balloons! Plenty to keep everyone at this fair entertained!
The balloon ascension was set to start around 5:30pm, weather and wind conditions permitting. There were balloon rides for sale, and most were sold out prior to the start of the festival. At dusk there would be the balloon glow.
By about 6pm, the sky was bright blue and the wind had died down. The balloon ascension was on!! The balloon operators began unloading their vans and trucks, getting the basket out, laying out the balloon, and then filling them with hot air!! What an amazing sight it was to be watching all of this!
We had no idea how much went into preparing the balloon and the basket before a flight. The balloons are massive and heavy! It takes several people to get it laid out and then onto the basket and up in the air. We were so amazed watching the balloon pilots and their teams get it all set up. Many of the balloon pilots have been flying for over 30 years!
One by one the balloons began to fill with air and then lift off the ground. We were able to be right on the field with them watching the whole process. We took a lot of pictures and videos, none of which can truly capture the amazing sight we were watching!
Once all of the balloons were in the air, and I’d say there were about 15-18 of them, it would be couple hours before they were back to set up for the balloon glow.
At about 9pm there were six balloons back on the field and ready for the balloon glow. The DJ played music and the balloon pilots would fill their balloons and make them glow off and on to the music. It was a lot of fun to see!
Do you know how a balloon glows? Me either, but this is what I read:
- When the main burner of the balloon is activated, the propane goes through a level of coils that the flame passes over. This creates tremendous pressure and a very hot flame. The flame is blue in color and is used to heat the large volume of air in the fabric of the balloon which in turn gives it lift. All balloons have a back-up burner that gets propane directly from the tank. Because it does not pass over the coils, it gives a yellow glow and turns the balloon into the largest luminary you have ever seen!!
Pretty amazing if you ask me!! Trevor and I had a great time at the festival, and we were so happy to be able to be right on the field with all the balloon action.
Taking a ride in a hot air balloon is on our bucket list, but we want to do it in New Mexico. So, we did not ride at this festival!
Have you ever been for a ride in a hot air balloon? If not, is it on your bucket list? Leave us a message below, we’d love to hear about your experience if you rode in a balloon or have been to a hot air balloon festival!