Up, Up and Away!

We attended  the Carolina BalloonFest two weeks ago~ our second year enjoying this annual weekend event held in Statesville, NC and a short drive from the lake.

A colorful, fun event and the second oldest hot-air balloon festival in the country~ with 50 Hot Air Balloons and Mass Ascensions, a Balloon Glow, Tethered & Hot Air rides, and all day festivities including live entertainment.

We attended the Saturday morning Fly In & Competition.

 It was a crisp (translation: a chilly 38 degrees :) morning~  perfect weather & conditions for the calm thermal atmosphere needed for balloon flight!

The competition involves the balloons trying to navigate to hit a mark on the ground, by dropping or throwing a small sandbag with a colored streamer, coming close as possible to the marked field without touching the ground.


This year there was an added Ring-Toss competition with pilots attempting to toss or drop a 12″ ring on a 23’ pole.

I had planned to post this in time for Halloween, but my 600 {gulp} photos took a while to edit :)


 And apparently as many photos were taken from the air as from the ground. . .

 A”Normie” sighting~ Lake Norman’s version of Nessie

More balloons were able to navigate closer to the field this year~ at times bumping or rubbing against each other with the calm/still winds.

And a sighting of a Purple People Eater~

The Balloonist’s Prayer

“May the winds welcome you with softness
May the sun bless you with it’s warm rays
May you fly so high and so well
That God will join you in laughter
And set you gently back again
Into the loving arms of Mother Earth.”

Thank you for your visit, I’m joining:

  55 comments for “Up, Up and Away!

  1. Happier Than A Pig in Mud
    November 6, 2011 at 6:10 am

    Looks like a fun day Mary! Love the Jack-O-Lantern and Normie, great pics:@)

  2. Pondside
    November 6, 2011 at 6:53 am

    That was fun! I haven’t seen a Hot Air Balloon for years, as they aren’t flown much in our part of the world. When we lived in Ottawa it was normal, on a sunny weekend afternoon, to watch a flotilla drift over the house. Such a spectacle!

  3. November 6, 2011 at 7:01 am

    I remember last year’s photos but I think this time, yours are even MORE spectacular! What a fun event! Such creative minds, too, with the Jack-O-Lantern one & the Purple People Eater. Children must love it…me, too!

    Thanks for taking us along,

  4. November 6, 2011 at 8:10 am

    Spectacular! Love Normie!

  5. November 6, 2011 at 11:00 am

    How beautiful! The last house I lived in was in the path of weekend balloonists, and I loved waking up to that distinctive sound.
    Your photos are gorgeous. Thank you so much for sharing them with us!

  6. November 6, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    What a fun trip, Mary! It reminds me of New Mexico. Great shots, as always. Have a great week. xo

  7. November 6, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    Spectacular photos, Mary! I love to watch balloons drift with the winds….When I lived in Miami, there was a field nearby where balloonists would meet early on Sunday mornings and they always passed near the house….I could sit in the back with a cup of coffee and see them just float by…..all you could hear was the birds singing and the whoosh whoosh of the releasing gas….. Magical!

  8. Jackie
    November 6, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    I too, use to live in a neighborhood that was in a balloon path. The first time I heard it, it was terrifying, then it became the signal to go “watch”. When I finally took my first balloon trip I was with a group of people who were a little frightened by it. All in all I had a great time, I think they might still be reeling though! Your post brought back many fond memories. I do wish you would see about putting all of your wonderful settings into a book. You have so much talent it is unbelievable.

  9. November 6, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    Hi Mary,

    I’ve always wanted to go to this hot air ballon festival, but haven’t gotten there yet. We only live about an hour away, but you know how it is. These photos are amazing, Mary! Did you actually go up in a balloon? It looks like you did because some of the shots you got are up close and personal. :) This is one of the most colorful events I’ve seen, and you captured the colors just beautifully. I love these blue, fall skies.

    Thanks for sharing and Happy Seasonal Sunday.

    Denise at Forest Manor

  10. Kate
    November 6, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    Every yr on my birthday I do some different, and a few yrs ago I took a hot air balloon ride. I had so much fun. I would love to go on another one.

  11. November 6, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    Awesome, vibrant shots Mary ~ just the Rx for this gray day in the Pac NW. Looks like you had a load of fun; thank you for sharing the color!!

  12. November 6, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    This looks like such a fun event. I always wondered what the Purple People eater looked like!!! I have never ridden in a hot-air balloon, but Leo has done it twice. I’m content to stay on the ground. Love your photos of the event.

  13. November 6, 2011 at 9:09 pm

    Oh how fun! We just had ours last month. Your photos look wonderful!..Christine

  14. November 6, 2011 at 9:18 pm

    These balloons are just fabulous looking…I have always had a fascination with them and hope to go up in one some day! Your pictures are so perfect!!!

  15. November 6, 2011 at 9:28 pm

    WOW! I would love to go to that event next year! We love to drive over to Statesville! You got some amazing photos! I’ll show your post to hubby! He’ll enjoy it, too! Hugs! ♥

  16. November 6, 2011 at 9:35 pm

    Omigosh, how wonderful they all are! Thanks for sharing this fabulous festival with us!

  17. November 6, 2011 at 9:57 pm

    Oh my I just love the vivid colors on the hot air balloon. And I so wish I could ride it too. ^_^

    Mosaic Monday

  18. November 6, 2011 at 10:10 pm

    I love hot air balloons. Looks like you had a great time. I love *Nessie*! We ballooned when we lived in New Mexico. Thanks for the memories!

  19. November 6, 2011 at 10:12 pm

    Wow, are they ever beautiful balloons! They are so colorful. There is a Balloon Fiesta every September in Sussex, New Brunswick (Canada) too and I really need to get to it again.

  20. November 6, 2011 at 10:16 pm

    Beautiful shots and such an array of color! Thanks for sharing them!

  21. Erika
    November 7, 2011 at 4:23 am

    Fantastic pictures. Very beautiful, didn’t you go up in a balloon too?

  22. November 7, 2011 at 6:50 am

    wonderful vibrant colour – I hope you went for a ride!

  23. November 7, 2011 at 10:23 am

    I love hot air balloons, not just seeing them but riding in them. It is an incredibly freeing experience to glide above housetops, the plain or whatever though sometimes coming down can be a bit harrowing.

  24. November 7, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    I have been to lots of hot air balloon rallies but have never been to one where there was a competition. That must have been great fun to watch. I cannot believe the quality of your shots of the event. They are post card picture perfect. Vibrant colors catch your eye immediately and hold onto you for dear life. A wonderful post. genie

  25. November 7, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    that was great fun, i have been to abq show twice and loved it, nothing like being in a mass of hot air at dawn!

    don’t tell my husband that!

    fabulous pics, i have not seen that dragon one wrapped around the ballon before, they are so creative and magical and its so fun to stand below as they toss and try to win their prizes. lucky you off on such a fun and close adventure~ i miss fft, think of all the fun stuff we used to do for our books :(

  26. November 7, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    The myriad of colors are beautiful and must be so exciting. I guess I could get enough nerve up to take a ride. It would be fun to see things from the air with such a great view. Have you ever ridden a hot air balloon?

  27. November 7, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    What amazing photos, Mary. You captured the spirit of this event in magnificent color. ~ Sarah

  28. November 7, 2011 at 10:14 pm

    What a beautiful post, Mary. I bet that was great fun watching this! I am way too afraid to go up in one. LOL! The colors are spectacular! XO, Pinky

  29. November 8, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    lots of colourful photos; you weren’t tempted to go up for a joy ride? Imagine the photos hovering oer the countryside…

  30. November 8, 2011 at 8:44 pm

    Oh goodness what gorgeous colors! Love, love, love balloon festivals.

  31. November 8, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    Stunning shots! So colourful, love the pp eater!

  32. November 8, 2011 at 9:56 pm

    This would be the ultimate ride! What a very fun event! Don’t you love that people will make a competition of almost anything?
    Your photography is absolutely stunning. What camera do you use… and what is your editing program? I need to take lessons from you!
    xo Yvonne

  33. November 9, 2011 at 12:15 am

    Your photos are fantastic! What a fun weekend you had. I have seen hot air balloons in New Mexico and we have them in the wine country area in California but I have never been up in one. There is just something so magical about them and the balloons you have shown us are so creative and colorful and beautiful. What a fun post!

  34. November 9, 2011 at 6:01 am

    Fantastic photos!
    I have never seen hot air balloons.
    Thanks for sharing.

  35. November 9, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    Fabulous fun!

  36. November 9, 2011 at 5:37 pm

    You must not live too far away from me since I am only about a 35 to 40 minute drive to Statesville. We didn’t go to the rally this year but I’ve been a few times. You got some great shots!

  37. Terry
    November 9, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    Great pictures sounds like a fun weekend. went on one in
    Nevada scared the (bleep) out of me. Made the exwifes day me screaming like a two year old.

  38. November 9, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    We have a balloon company here that takes people on rides through the mountains. It never fails to lift my spirits to see those graceful balloons riding along…..

    lovely shots..

  39. November 9, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    Your photos are simply glorious!!

  40. Pat
    November 9, 2011 at 9:31 pm

    I’ve always wanted to go to a balloon festival and ride in a hot air balloon. Your photos were almost as good as being there,Mary!

  41. November 9, 2011 at 10:27 pm

    These are so beautiful! There’s a balloon festival not far from here, and I always want to go, but I haven’t been there yet. No I really want to get there next summer. Your pictures are amazing.

  42. November 9, 2011 at 11:04 pm

    love your balloons, wow.


  43. November 10, 2011 at 1:49 am

    How cool is that? It’s only about 7 miles from my house, but I haven’t gone in the 4 years we’ve been here. I saw 3 last Sunday from Hwy. 150. The jack-o-lantern one was too cool. You got some great shots.

  44. November 10, 2011 at 9:29 am

    Brilliant, my dream is to go in a balloon one day fab pictures

  45. November 10, 2011 at 11:42 am

    Gorgeous images, balloons and a very touching prayer…
    On my bucket list to go up in a hot air balloon. We have a number of Glows during the year around here.

  46. Karen S.
    November 10, 2011 at 11:59 am

    Oh my ballooness! These are so wonderful, but could I please just have the dragon one! He’s just got the cutest expression…as he’s flying up, up and away!

  47. November 10, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    What an amazing array of photos! This would have been such fun to see first hand.

  48. November 10, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    A festival for the eyes! And the spirit.

  49. November 10, 2011 at 7:36 pm

    Amazing! I’ve had the New Mexico balloon festival on my bucket list for years, but North Carolina is much closer. I’ll have to check this out!

  50. November 11, 2011 at 5:10 am

    Wonderful photography… such gorgeous bright colors and clarity. I love the photo showing the fire heating the air. Thank you for sharing these!

  51. November 12, 2011 at 11:04 am

    What fun – we will have to check it out next year!

  52. November 12, 2011 at 11:38 pm

    Great fun! Great photos!

    I missed the posting deadline for Alphabe-Thursday this week…feel free to stop by, tho… :)

  53. November 13, 2011 at 1:58 am

    We had the world championships once in our home town. It was amazing

  54. November 14, 2011 at 12:24 pm


    I’ve been to one of these in New Mexico and it was unforgettable.

    The stained glass colors of those magnificent balloons silhouetted against the sky is truly incredible.

    Thanks for a beautiful link for the letter ‘B’.


  55. November 15, 2011 at 7:18 am

    Oh! These are amazing photos! I love the vivid colors :) How fun this event must’ve been! I’ve always wanted to go to one of these but they’re hard to find in the places I lived in….

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