May 10, 2008

A Big Balloon

I love living in the city, because you never know what's around the next corner, like this, this or this. When I was walking Connor this evening, I noticed a truck with a basket for a hot air balloon on the back, parked in a local lot. I wandered over and asked what they were doing, and it turned out that they work for Brooks & Dunn, who were part of Kenny Chesney's Poets & Pirates country music show at Ravens Stadium, close to my house.
The ground crew was gauging the winds to see if they could launch the balloon so it would float over the stadium as B&D began to play. First, they sent a small black helium balloon up to see what the wind currents were doing and then decided on a launch point that would put them at the right height. Since they were not launching for another 45 minutes, I walked home and grabbed my camera.
When I got back, they were just beginning to unroll and inflate the balloon. Huge fans filled the black and white balloon and when it was almost full, they turned on the propane to heat the air to make it rise. The crew unfurled a huge American flag to fly from the side of the balloon, which had Brooks & Dunn's logo on it.
As we watched, the two pilots jumped in the basket as the crew struggled to hold down the balloon. With an excited cheer from the crew and me, they let the balloon go and it drifted off in the early evening air currents. I watched it until it disappeared and then walked over to see if I could get a shot of it behind the stadium, but it was gone.
I saw the chase crew driving around furiously looking for it, hoping that it didn't drift east towards the open Chesapeake Bay. Thanks to the crew at Brooks & Dunn Aeronautical for letting me be a part of this.


  1. How fun!!! Great pictures too! I wish I had been there with you and Conner. Was he going nuts? Aren't those things loud? Did they make it? It actually looks cool with that flag and all. And I'm going to vote for Obama. hahah!!!

  2. How fun!!! Did they recover the baloon?

  3. I am assuming that they caught up with the balloon. If the balloon drifted far enough to the east, the chase crew would have had a harder time getting to it, because they would have had to cross the outer harbour, through a tunnel via I-95...

  4. wow -what an adventure! thats so cool!

  5. They used to hold the Preakness Balloon Festival in Druid Hill Park and it was always a thrill going there on my regular early morning dog walk and seeing all the balloons getting ready.

  6. Goodness me - never a dull moment in your neighbourhood by the looks of things!


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