2018 Suncook Valley Rotary Hot Air Balloon Rally / by Douglas Koski

Sinéad and I woke up *excessively* early to meet up with our friends Kris and Erin for an uncommon adventure.  The adventure was a sunrise launch of hot air balloons for the Suncook Valley Rotary Hot Air Balloon Rally in Pittsfield, NH

It turned out to be a beautifully humid morning.  The air was densely saturated with a thick fog that was only going to burn away with the day's hot sun.  We made our way to Drake Field only to catch the announcement that the launch site had been moved.  The day of heavy rain that had provided such a foggy morning, had also completely saturated the field intended for the launch.  The launch needed a firm, mostly dry location, and Globe Manufacturing volunteered their parking lot.  A short detour later we found the crews setting up their balloons.

Welcome Speech

A member of the Globe Manufacturing balloon team gave a nice welcome speech for this year's event.

As more people arrived some of the teams were already to a point of checking their torches.  It's quite incredible the flames propelled by these!

Even sooner still, the balloons were extended over the pavement and fans were quick to the task of inflating the fabric.  

The balloons were ready to get set upright and off the ground but, to do so, great quantities of heat needed to enter the equation.  The torch bearers took their positions and carefully extended their torrent of fire.

Crews had to be sure they were working to alternate the liftoffs as there was not enough room in the parking lot to all go at once.  While primarily practical in purpose, it by no means diminished the visual impact of the launches.


A Team Effort

There was a lot more work that went into getting these off the ground than just the torch bearer heating the air.



Sinéad didn't realize I caught her in the middle of her photo shoot.

The hazy, humid, morning air made for some fun lighting as the balloons took flight.

I had spent a little time trying to see if I could catch Erin and Sinéad together through out the event.  I did catch them a few times!  Kris was a bit too elusive...

There were just a couple balloons left to get up off the ground.  Neither of them really went too far while we were there.  We left thinking they must have been last to launch so they could use the space for tethered rides.


The Brave Photographer...

I bet that must have made for a great shot, though!

Happy Panda!  (Just don't think about where the fire gets blown too much...)

That wrapped up our great adventure with Kris and Erin!  We headed back home, had some breakfast, I tried to work on some photos, but it wasn't long before I succumbed to a nap.  Looking forward to possibly hitting up this wonderful little event next year!  And, with any luck, Drake Field will be in decent enough shape to lift off from.  (I've been told the balloons attempt to graze the river before fully taking to the sky!)