35th Annual BalloonFest : Statesville, NC

I made an idol comment about a hot air balloon ride one day,
which initiated a search to find places near us that offered balloon rides.

Up, up, and away

What I stumbled upon in the process was far better than what I initially expected.
I came across the 35th annual BalloonFest taking place here in North Carolina!

My favorite Balloon

Imagine my excitement once I realized that it was only an 1 hr and 45 min away from Boone.

Pretty Yellow Balloons

We didn't get there until after noon, but we made it with enough
time to settle in before the mass ascension took place.
It was more like a sporadic ascension, although still exciting.

Left behind

I never did make arrangements to go for a private balloon ride,
mostly due to the $200 per head charge - maybe another day?!
For now, I will settle for walking amongst the behemoth balloons.

Down Balloon

At a whopping 5' 3", it's not hard to dwarf me,
but I felt so minuscule standing next to those grand mammoths.

The ones that didn't make it

I watched as pilots and passengers were man-handled while trying to take off.
Not everyone made it in the air that day. But when they did, cheers & applause followed.
I loved being a part of these little celebrations, it was quite exhilarating.

Finally up in the air

Another thrilling part of the festivities were the food vendors.
We had so many options in front of us, it was hard to choose what to go with.
What do you do when that happens eh?!?! Sample everything!

My creation
~Cheesecake dipped in Chocolate~
~Deep Fried Snicker~

Meat on a Stick Guys
~Meat on a Stick~

As wonderful as all that yummy food was,
the truly magical didn't really take place until the sun went down.

Backlit Balloon

By then, the balloons were returning to the valley to put on a special twilight show.


The roaring flames were as loud as the oohs and aahs as the valley began to glow....
you could hear the "ALL BURN" announcement followed
by everyone lighting up the night in unison.

All Burn

It was a wondrous sight.

All Burn

And like that the fire fizzled, it was time to go back home.
We had a great time.....


  1. I've seen balloon fests and love the color and design of the different balloons, and the shear size of them in all their glory, and hearing the fire roar as they set off. But I've never seen this at night. That is an amazing site. Thank you so much for sharing your adventure with us.

  2. Oh wow... what wonderful colours!!!

    The photos at night are particularly spectacular. Thanks so much for sharing them with us all.

  3. Awwww-sum! Wow! I've always wanted to attend one of these. The photos are absolutely wonderful! I'm jealous! :-)

  4. looks like fun!
    The sky backdrop were so clear and blue, something that never happen on balloon fest in here.
    Thanks for sharing!!!

  5. Lovely photos as always. I bet the festival was a lot of fun. Oh and I think I just gained 4 kilos just looking at that food. Cheesecake dipped in chocolate YUM!!

  6. I had a hot air balloon crash land in my back yard over the summer. It was probably one of the cooler things thats happened in my neighborhood. Its too bad its so expensive to ride it one! That would be so much fun!

  7. GREAT pictures! I loved these...
    I love balloon fests...
    Happy Wordful Wednesday!

    Jay @ HalftimeLessons.com

  8. GORGEOUS photos! Thanks for sharing this fun experience with us all!

  9. what great photos! We have a balloon festival in our city every year but as of yet I haven't gotten really awesome photos. Maybe next year... with my new camera. thanks for the inspiration

  10. oh wow what really fun and stunning photos especially the one of the balloons at night....I guess I need to put that on my list of things I must try.....along with a DEEP FRIED SNICKER!

  11. I love to go watch hot air balloons! We did that every year with my grandparents when I was a kid. Looks like you had a blast!

  12. Chocolate Cheese Cake? Seriously!

    The ballon festival looks amazing. What a glorious day!

    I'm reading Omnivore's Delima now... but our local COOP has been Monsanto-bashing for years:)

  13. I love balloonfests. We used to go to Freedom Weekend Aloft every year. There is something magical about seeing those gorgeous balloons take off, and the evening glow on the ground.

  14. so much fun! i love the lit up balloons at night...so pretty! and passa long one of those deep fried snickers...not! even though i love anything greasy and sweet, i might have to pass on that one. it scares me a little. great post.

  15. That's so wonderful--I've never been to a ballon fest before--the twilight photos are beautiful!

  16. Awesome pics. Sounds like a great day for the eyes.

  17. this must have been a real feast for you as a photographer! marvellous pics, and the glowing in the night sure was a very special experience!

  18. Absoultely beautiful pictures! Where i grew up, there was an annual balloon festival. It was always so cool to watch them magically float through the air. And deep friend snickers? I don't know if I could eat that. And I love chocolate!

    thanks for sharing these great pics! Happy Wednesday!

  19. I used to live across the river from the Gatineau Balloon fest. Unfortunately our dog was petrified of hot air balloons and that was the worst weekend for us, he would NOT go outside! Gorgeous photos.

  20. I've seen one on occasion but not a "flock"!!

    Excellent report!

    Well done!!


  22. ...and then accidentally hit the "send" button too fast.

    Daaamn that adrenaline.

    I love those balloons, what can I say?

  23. looks like an awesome time! my hubs and I did this once!

  24. I *heart* hot air balloons. This would have been so much fun. I will have to go one year and we can shoot together. =)

  25. Wow! What a wonderful experience. I know how much I liked the balloon festival I saw in New Mexico. The size of the balloons and the variety of colors are amazing. You were lucky to get to see them in the daytime and at night. Your pictures are awesome!

    (That cheesecake on a stick looks pretty good too!) :)

  26. There used to be a festival here every fall. But its stopped for some reason, just before I was a DSLR shooter.

    These are great pictures!!!

  27. Now I feel even worse about missing the balloon festival that is only 40 minutes away! You have really inspired me to make sure we go next year! Beautiful pictures, and I want that chocolate cheesecake thingy!!!

  28. Wow! Wow! Wow! These are FABULOUS photos!!

  29. wow. those are fabulous. little info about the camera/lenses etc. would be great!!!

  30. oh wow. That is wonderful! I missed our balloon festival this year so thank you so much for sharing.

  31. very cool.

    i think a friend of mine went to this fest, too.

  32. What beautiful photos of this event. And - yum! - the food looks good, too. :)

  33. There is a balloon fest not far from where I live, too. They also have a night glow, which is really cool to see. Some years the wind interferes and the balloons can't ignite. Cool photos!

  34. These certainly are brilliant photos, and the food looks good too. It must have been beautiful watching them at night, like lanterns.

  35. I LOVE photos of hot air balloons! Yours are particularly wonderful.

    I'll have to go see when there is a festival around here!

  36. Well, with 35 comments you probably won't go "yea!" at one more, but I wanted to add my cheers for these bright and gorgeous balloon shots. I hope you get to go up in one sooner than later. Those night shots are dreamy...

  37. The Mister and I went on a balloon ride years ago. It was magical!

  38. Oh how fun! Esp like the night pics. I've been to a balloon fest like this in IL once and I would love to go to another one sometime. And I'd really love to take a ride in one - I'd really have to do some smooth talking with hubby on that though. He's not to keen on heights!

  39. NICE BALLOONS SHOT. Similar is in ABQ, NM balloon fiesta (that's where I grew up)- i miss that fiesta.

  40. Amazing. What incredible colors contrasted against the blue sky and the black night.