Look! Up in the sky! Birds? Planes? No, it’s hot-air balloons! Bright colors and bold graphic designs fill the sky. The song “Up, Up and Away” as sung by the Fifth Dimension flows through the mind.
Re/Max of Midland’s 23rd Annual Balloon Festival begins Thursday September 12th with an Evening Glow on Main Street in Midland at dusk. This is a great time to see the beauty of the tethered balloons up and down Main Street. The festival ends on Sunday, September 15th at the Midland Fair Grounds.
The festival moves Friday to the fairgrounds. Morning launches are generally around 8:00 a.m. and the evening launches are around 6:00 p.m. Friday morning will have launches from various locations around Midland and the rest will be at the fairgrounds.
The Balloon Festival began in 1991 to kick off United Way’s campaign and continues to do so today. The public is invited to all of the events at no charge; however, a donation of a canned food item is requested for the Food Pantry of Midland County. The drop off site will be at the fair grounds.
According to Wikipedia, “the hot air balloon is the oldest successful human-carrying flight technology.” The balloon (envelope) is the container for hot air and has a basket (gondola) suspended beneath it for the passengers.
The modern day balloon has an onboard propane burner with an open flame that sits below the mouth, or balloon opening. The flame is centered in the mouth to heat the air inside of the balloon. The heated air gives it buoyancy and the winds move the balloon. At the top of the balloon is a vent that allows the pilot to release hot air to bring the balloon down.
During the festival, skydivers will take to the air on Saturday evening. They will begin landing around 7:00 p.m. at the fairgrounds. There will also be After Glows on Friday and Saturday at dusk. All launches are dependent on the weather.