Nothing says fall has arrived like the changing of the leaves – except for my wife’s pot roast and the Adirondack Balloon Festival. It’s pretty much a yearly tradition with us and we were fortunate enough to get two of our kids to go with us this year. We get up well before dawn to make an hour drive up to the sunrise launch. The first year we went, we were quite surprised that they let you get right up close and personal with the balloons. In past years, we even helped spread out one of the balloons. The picture up inside the balloon was not taken with zoom. I really was right behind the basket.
Little by little the balloons start popping up like popcorn against the sunrise. It’s really an impressive sight. They launch around 100 balloons by 8:00. The sky is filled with balloons rather quickly and then just as quickly, the wind carries them away.
There are generally two highlights that get the crowd’s attention. The first is flames. People just love it when they fire up the burners. Some of the crews even light them up before the balloon has even been spread out just to excite the crowd (and possibly test systems too, I’m sure). The best flames can be seen once the balloons are upright. Against the early morning sky, they look so majestic lit up from the inside.
The second crowd pleaser is the custom balloons. Most of the balloons are the standard shape, but look around a little and you can see somewhat goofy looking balloons with strange faces. Sometimes, they don’t even look like balloons at all. This year marked the 40th anniversary of the balloon festival. To commemorate the event they had a giant birthday cake balloon. They probably could have done a better job picking out a place to set up though. The cake looked like it was in danger of being eaten by a large dinosaur.
After the launch, we head to The Silo, a restaurant and gift shop nearby to get breakfast. The place is an old renovated barn complete with silo, its namesake. They make a great breakfast up there. Most of us ordered The Big Country which consists of 3 eggs, 3 pieces of bacon, home fries, toast, and 2 pancakes.
It’s a great hearty breakfast that’s really hits the spot. I ate everything but the home fries. It’s a great way to wrap up a really awe inspiring morning. Even with the stop for a large breakfast, we still get home between 10:30 and 11:00.
If they have a balloon festival near you, I would really recommend that you check it out. If it’s the Adirondack Balloon Festival, make sure you stop in at The Silo afterwards for breakfast – you won’t regret it.