I experienced my first hot air balloon festival last October at the first Spring Hill Spooktacular Hot Air Balloon Festival. After that experience, I was hooked! I had a great time and came away with some nice pictures. When my wife sent me the notice about the Boro Balloon Fest, I knew I had to save the date! The Boro Balloon Fest was taking place over an entire weekend, so there was a good chance I could find some time to attend at least one day. Not only did I find a window to attend, my family decided to go with me. My wife really liked my pictures and video from the Spring Hill event. She wasn’t going to miss this opportunity.
Things did not look promising when we arrived. It started to rain. After entering the venue, we parked the car and waited for the rain to stop. When the rain finally stopped, we made the trek across a field to the festival area. I will have to admit that arriving at a hot air balloon festival and not seeing any balloons is not a good sign. While that is completely understandable due to the weather, it can still be somewhat disappointing. That’s the chance you take with any outdoor event. You can’t control the weather.
Things started to look up when a couple of hot air balloon crews started to assemble their balloons. After finding an area to set up camp, I grabbed my camera while my family took care of more important matters, finding food! That was easy to do because there were several food trucks with a variety of offerings. Over the course of the next few hours, I roamed around snapping pictures of anything I found interesting.
I failed to mention that the festival venue was The Grove at Williamson Place. The sunflowers at this venue are quite popular. I wished I had a dollar for every selfie that was taken in the sunflower fields. So as you might imagine, it was a must to capture some sunflowers photos, but no selfies!
Since there were no inflated balloons at the moment, I went into street photography mode. Those who follow me know how much I love street photography. Capturing candid moments and not so candid moments of people doing what people do is my favorite pastime. My main subjects were the balloon crews erecting their balloons. You could see the teamwork and comradery amongst the crew members.
It became increasingly apparent that there was only going to be two inflated balloons that evening. In fact, only one of them got off the ground. Shortly after a few tethered flights, Mother Nature decided to end the show as a lightning bolt was spotted. That ended things abruptly. There were two shots I really wanted to capture. One of those shots was the balloon glow. As I mentioned, it was evident that seeing a line of balloons glowing at night was not going to happen. The second shot I wanted was a line of inflated balloons against a sunset sky. Well, I did not get the multiple balloon shot, but I was able to grab one balloon against a sunset backdrop before the show was over.
There’s been a lot of complaints about the first Boro Balloon Festival. Some of the complaints are founded in constructive criticism while others are a bit over the top. Ultimately, the weather had a huge role in what transpired. I personally enjoyed the short time I was there, but I usually see the glass as half full. I had intentions on coming back the second evening, but the weather looked bleak and I did not want to make the drive only to turnaround. To the credit of the Boro Balloon Festival organizers, they honored first day tickets on the second day and I believe they refunded those who paid for balloon rides.
The Grove at Williamson Place is a perfect venue for a balloon festival. It’s spacious and picturesque. We enjoyed the family atmosphere. Even without a field of balloons, it was still a great time with my wife and kids. I believe this event has so much potential. There are always growing pains when you do something for the first time. I hope the organizers weed out the angry voices and heed the constructive criticism. They have a jewel of an event on their hands. I hope to be back next year! If you like what you see and want to catch my next photography adventure, Subscribe or Like and Follow my Facebook Page at Shuttering Thru Life. Thanks for reading!