Michigan Challenge Balloonfest

The weekend of June 22nd to 24th there is a balloon festival in Howell, Michigan.  I love balloon festivals and have never been to this one.  I marked my calendar and we made a point to go out to it.  Friday was not an option of going due to rainy weather and my son playing basketball.

This was the 34th year of the festival.  Their website contains a lot of information and you can download a program before you go.

We pulled into the parking area of grass out front of the Howell High School, where it costs you $15/car.  They had a synchronized system of volunteers parking cars.  We followed the signs to the balloon launch area where they also had kites dancing in the air.  I don’t recall seeing signs of activities to the right but we went to the left, watching the kites and going past the food court.

The carnival had rides for all ages.  There was the Yoyo, Skywheel, Mighty Mouse, Himalaya, Zipper, Zero Gravity, Sizzler, ferris wheel and more for adults.  For the kids there was a dragon coaster, train ride, race cars, jumping frog and more.  In addition to the rides, there were the carnival games.

After walking through the carnival we went to the balloon launch field.  We forgot chairs or a blanket, need to make sure we have those for the next one.  We sat down on the grass with our small cooler.  When going to festivals it is always a good idea to bring your own beverages.  Typically in our cooler is water, flavored water, and energy drinks.

The number of people around us kept increasing as the time for the balloon launch got closer.  Some were on blankets, some sitting in chairs, and some sitting right on the grass.  It’s always interesting people watching.

As the time got closer the announcer, Tom Maynard, kept us updated on what was going on out on the field.  He told us why the black balloon is launched ahead of time.  Plus, he gave us a history lesson about the national anthem.  Want to know what he said?  Go next year and find out.  He is very well spoken and informative.

I would like to remind people that when attending something like this where people are primarily sitting down, please sit down and don’t stand up to take pictures, you are not a window, but an excellent wall and some people can’t just get up and move around you.

Finally, the balloons were pulled out of their trucks and trailers and starting going up.

I am looking forward to going to this next year, nice amount of balloons, a variety of things to do and inexpensive.

#balloons #hotairballons #festivals #smalltownfun #puremichigan

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