In 2005, Sports Illustrated called this event one of “America’s Top 25 Summer Essentials”. As a lifelong resident of this area, I have to admit that I’ve never attended this event before. Usually I would be scheduled to work, and the closest I would get to the balloon championship would be an early morning glimpse of this ballet of balloons floating over Baton Rouge. This year, my entire family is planning an evening picnic to listen to live music, watch the balloon glow, and admire the fireworks. The most exciting part for me? I was invited to go on my first balloon ride!\
When I was invited to experience my first hot air balloon ride in Baton Rouge, I had no idea that the evening would be a profound event for my son.
The Pennington Balloon Championship is an annual free event held in Baton Rouge, LA. We took the kids to enjoy the balloon glow, live music, and the activities set up for kids. There was an air show by the Black Daggers that held everyone in awe with their air acrobatics. I was very excited to hop into the balloon basket and set sail in the air across the Mississippi River.
Sadly, the mass ascension was cancelled due to a thunder cell and the winds were too strong for the balloons to safely fly. I was a disappointed, but I’m from the school where everything happens for a reason.
As we waited with the balloon crew while families walked around the grounds collecting balloon trading cards, the pilot of our balloon, Lamar Poole, asked my son and husband if they wanted to assist in the inflation of the balloon Louisiana. They did help and we got a first hand look at what goes on into setting up a hot air balloon.
On the ride home that night, after our family enjoyed a few plates of jambalaya and a fireworks show, my 13 year old son made the comment, “Mom, I’m going to remember this for the rest of my life.”
For me, that was way better than any hot air balloon ride
Check out Shannon’s blog at http://www.shannonlane.com/balloon-festivals-competitions-us/.
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