Monday, October 27, 2008

Shenandoah Wine & Balloon Festival

On Sunday, 19th, I joined some Brit friends at Long Branch for the Wine & Balloon Fest. It was quite windy so we weren't very hopeful that we'd see balloons in the air, but at least there was a great wine selection to sample from and plenty of other amusements. We rushed to get our free glass and then headed immediately to the wine tents. This was obviously so we would avoid the rush later on as more people arrived and definitely not because we were licking our lips in anticipation of an early liquid lunch.
After an hour and a half though, we found that the wines were all starting to taste the same so we headed towards the vendors that were offering a more substantial repast.

Pumpkins were plentiful and there were many stalls featuring the orange orbs decorated in humorous and garish manners or just heaped in piles.

These faces were very appealing and were decorated with acrylic paints.

There were also rows of wonderful old cars and trucks lined up with their proud owners sitting close and eager to answer questions.

The car above caught my eye as I'd never seen the underside of a hood with a mural before. It was very impressive and I loved the abundance of chrome.

I was really pleased to see 7 or so old fire engines which I spent a long time looking over and taking photos of. I was intrigued to see a bulldog fire mascot on the Mack above. I know that the mascot is usually a dalmation dog so had hoped to get an explanation from the owner, but unfortunately never saw him.
We spent an hour or so chatting to 2 gentlemen who were with one of the balloon crews and learned that it was probably too windy for them to fly. The breeze had picked up and now had a biting edge but we doggedly sat and waited for the final verdict. As we chatted, I learned that the balloons are made out of nylon and the baskets are crafted here in the States. The outfit costs upwards of $20K and a pilot's license is required to fly them. They will also avoid flying in winds above 10 knots, (11.5 mph).

Eventually the final decision came that no-one would fly but BB&T decided to set up for the crowd's benefit. Everyone excitedly drew round the van as a large bundle was unfolded and spread out and the basket rigged up. Fans were directed into the balloon's opening and as it filled, it gently hovered over the crowd like a silk cloud. It was great to be allowed so close up as they prepared the balloon and as I took the shots below, I welcomed the heat from the burner.

After only about 15 minutes, the balloon was vertical and anchored to the ground with several ropes held by men. It slowly bobbed and swayed in the wind and as we left to find our cars and head to a warm pub for dinner, we were happy we'd stayed the course to witness it.

1 comment:

Heideldy Deideldy said...

I don't know if I am correct on this but I THINK the bulldog is a signature for the MACK truck line