Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Great Pershing Balloon Derby

We attended the Great Pershing Balloon Derby again this year. It was The Short Chic's second Derby. The Boy is away at college and could not attend. He has not attended since he was The Short Chic's age.

I know what you are all thinking, if you have seen one derby you have seen them all. Except that is so not true!

This year the weather was a huge factor in the Pershing Balloon Derby. Storms were moving into our area. The flight was delayed. There was much debate about the safety of flying. Many flyers chose not to launch. Others decided they would be able to do a quick launch. Last year the weather was not a factor and the balloons launched and raced. This year those that launched played a quick game of fox and hound.

This year we had friends join us. My work friend Shannon and her family drove up from the Kansas City metro area. My friend Debbie and her family also joined us from the St. Joseph area. My mom joined us. We then ran into another work friend. It was a mini work gathering outside of work! 

The crowd was large. Admission to the balloon derby is actually very reasonable. $2.00 per person or a total of $6.00 per vehicle. You are allowed to bring in your own drinks and food although those things are available there.

Watching the balloons lift is nothing short of breathtaking. They start off as flat nylon stretched out across a field. The burners are loud (who would have thought) as they begin blowing hot air into the balloon. As they fill with hot air, the balloon leaves the ground. Helpful assistants hold onto long ropes as the balloons start to lift. Finally the balloon leaves the ground and just floats away.

My absolute favorite part of the derby is the night glow. As dusk is settling in and daylight slips away, the burners turn these balloons into glowing pieces of art. This year's night glow was fairly short. The wind was pretty strong and while the balloons did not lift during the glow they still were getting banged around and were bumping into each other.

We attended the derby on Saturday night. I heard that Sunday's lift was cancelled all together due to wind and potential storms. I am so happy that Shannon and her family drove up to attend with us. I was worried for a bit that it was going to be a wasted trip but I am thankful they got  to experience the lift off and night glow. Last year, Debbie and her family did not get to experience a launch or a night glow due to the weather conditions. I am thankful they got to see one this year; even if it was a brief glow.

I know I mentioned it last year, but it worth mentioning again. At the Pershing Balloon Derby you are so close to the action.  We arrived about an hour and fifteen minutes before the scheduled launch and still were able to get front row seats. If you have been thinking about attending, I highly recommend the drive to Brookfield, Missouri on Labor Day Weekend.

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