After living in Park City for 7 years, you would think I’d know about the local annual events in town. We don’t miss the 4th of July Parade. We check out the light parade before Christmas. So, last year, when I learned that there is a hot air balloon festival every September right in our new neighborhood, I was excited to add it to our list of reasons we love living here! John was away, so Oden and I (and a Morrison bun baking in my oven) rode bikes over to the nearby fields early one Saturday to witness the magic. Unfortunately, the wind had grounded any balloon flights for the weekend. We watched them inflate but none left the ground. My then-two-year-old was still enthralled, as was I, and we decided to try again next year. Look how cute he was.
Well, the air was still as can be on the morning of the Autumn Aloft 2019 festival! Oden’s Auntie Frances was visiting so we all bundled up against the crisp fall morning chill and joined the crowds at the fields. Wow. I don’t know what it is about hot air balloons that fascinate me so, but I find them stunning and wistful! Before the sun peeked over Park City Hill, we wandered in between dozens of balloons in various stages of inflation. It’s almost shocking what a free-for-all it is. We were up close as the big flames shot hot air into the balloons. We had to move quickly to the side as a balloon started leaving the ground and coasting toward us. I thought Oden was going to lose his mind with excitement! What a sight for sleepy, 3-year-old eyes!
One by one, the balloons inflated and took off. Music was playing and we found a smaller version of a balloon for Oden’s wrist. The whole town seemed to turn out for the event. The sun finally creeped over the hill and started warming us up a bit and the clear blue sky was dotted with a rainbow of color. My favorite balloon was yellow with flowers. Some had a shape, like a frog or an owl. I could have watched them all day. I wonder what was going through Morrison’s little mind!
Rumbling tummies eventually convinced us to head home and find some breakfast. We could see the balloons in the sky as we drove home, floating over the golf course. What a view the people riding in the baskets must have had! I’m so glad John’s sister was able to see such a cool local event. And I’ll tell you what- I’ve added “hot air balloon ride” to my bucket list!