A blog about me and my adventure as an ex-pat.
Because someone told me to... Thank you Gaby.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

High on Kalamazoo

Back at the beginning of August I posted this photo on Facebook...

As Toby would call it - a "hot air babbloon".

I was putting the kids to bed when I spotted it out of the window. Well of course I grabbed the kids and my camera and ran outside! It was flying over the houses across the road and was so close we could hear the burners going. There is something quite magical about hot air balloons floating across the sky. 

And then a friend commented on Facebook to say it was her Dad piloting the balloon! It turns out that he owns the company 'Michigan Balloon Corp' and was going to be involved in a local balloon festival called 'High on Kalamazoo'.

That festival was this weekend and we spent most of Saturday there. I already had a prior commitment (helping out at the MOPS Mom to Mom sale) and Jeremy had been away with work all week and only got back Friday night so we didn't get to see everything but the bits we did see were fab! 
Jeremy was born in Bristol where they make hot air balloons and grew up going to air shows. 

He took the kids earlier on Friday evening and caught the last of the balloons going off on their flights.

Before they went, I tried to paint balloons on the kids' faces with varying success! 

Both Friday and Saturday evening we watched the balloon glow. On Friday the weather conditions were just right for most of them to take a flight so not many of them had made it back in time to take part in the glow. But the ones that did made it a magical experience.

They also did a flight at 7:30am on Saturday morning but that was just too early for our little ones who had stayed up until 9pm the night before.

We did make it to the classic car show on Saturday though. Lots of fabulous classic American cars (and even a British MG) lined up for us to ooh and aah over! Our love of motorcars and racing is definitely rubbing off on the kids. They were pointing out their favourites and Toby even took my camera to take some photos of his favourite details.

Isn't that just the coolest boot you've ever seen?! 

A real life 1985 DeLorean! My movie loving hubby was ecstatic! 

Toby took these next 2 pics. The other 12 he took had his fingers over the lens! 

We went back with a picnic on Saturday evening hoping to see the balloons take to the skies again, but it was just too windy so instead we watched them set up for the glow. 

Driving past the crowd showing off their propane

This is the balloon from Michigan Balloon Corp.

We had a couple of hours to kill so we walked over to the stage where a rock band was playing. It was  funny watching Jeremy trying to amuse our kids by chasing them in circles during the music. And even funnier when he was joined by a load of random kids! It was quite the spectacle! 

Eventually the sun began to set and it was time for the balloons to light up. According to the commentator, they did something never tried before. They played a rock 'n roll version of the Star Spangled Banner and at the same time all of the balloons 'twinkled'. Each of them turning their burners on and off to produce quite a show. I love America's pride in it's nation. I hardly heard the British anthem when we were living there! 

They then opened the field and let us all walk round (in the pitch black!) to meet the pilots and feel the heat of the burners. 

Walking round seeing the balloons light up at different times was amazing! 
One pilot invited the kids to stand in the basket. They were happy to do so but the pic I took with smiles was blurred (trying to take pics with a flash in the dark with my phone - let's not mention that I forgot my big camera every time!) so this doesn't do it justice:

We were able to walk around for a good 20 minutes before the balloons had to be deflated before they got too hot. 

We were so lucky to be able to see hot air balloons like this - what an amazing thing to have in the town where we live! 
I'm still not sure if I want to go up in one though! My fear of heights is holding me back. Maybe one day... 

So great to have quality family time after being without Daddy all week!

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