Memorial Day weekend I entertained with my spinning hula-hoops in the Kids Zone at Aloft Hot Air Balloon Races in Simpsonville SC. I didn’t have much info about the festival when I was first hired and until yesterday morning I thought I was doing a gig for the hotel chain “Aloft”. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that it was a big hot air balloon festival.
Naturally I went bragging on Facebook about my upcoming festival. One of my friends noticed my post and wrote that he was running “crew” (?? ~ Silly me. I didn’t know what that meant at the time) and we’d try and meet up.
On the way into the festival I had an extra ticket that I didn’t need and the guard asked if he could have it because inevitably someone is always short a ticket and my generosity would make someone’s day. As I gladly handed him my extra ticket he told me that I would be blessed that day and something wonderful would happen for me. Cool – I’ll take all the “wonderful” I can get!
So off I went to the Kids Zone and a few hours later I met my friend Aubrey. Little did I know that I would end up having the most magical evening in my life! I got to go down on the balloon field and help put up a hot air balloon with his friend Clark Harbold and their team. Then as “balloon chasers” we jumped into a pick-up truck following the balloon to meet up with Clark when he landed. It felt like being a tornado chaser – but a whole lot safer (at least that’s what I said at the time to Aubrey). As Clark was trying to make a landing in a tight spot to give another lucky person (maybe me?!) a ride the hot air balloon had an unfortunate encounter with some pine trees on a golf course. No one was hurt but the balloon took a beating and couldn’t fly anymore and the race was over for us.
When I finally left the park I saw the same security guard from earlier in the day and told him about my amazing adventure and said “You were right!”
I wish my camera phone could capture the majesty and magnitude of these beautiful balloons. The scale is so enormous that it’s impossible to grab it in a picture but I still want to share the moment. If you click on a picture it will open to a larger image but you have to hit the back button to return to the post.