Sunday, September 30, 2007

And the Ballons Are Where, Exactly?

Yesterday the weather in Louisville was BEAUTIFUL and we had plans to meet up with our friends, the Burkes, at the Bluegrass Balloon Festival. According to their website and the write-up in the newspaper, over 90 hot air balloons participate in the festival which is held at Bowman Field. Besides balloons, there is fair food and inflatables for the kiddos. It was a mere $7.00 parking fee to attend so it seemed like a perfect idea.

We got to the festival around three p.m. and everything was pretty much as expected. Around twenty inflatables were set up. There were your standard mylar balloon stands with $7.00 mylar balloons for your precious child to hold for approximately 2.3 seconds before letting said balloon sail off into the sky. Food stands and a beer tent with obnoxiously over-priced draft beer were tucked into a corner. All of this was set up in a circular fashion with a big open grassy field in the middle.

Silly me, I expected this field to be filled with beautiful, colorful balloons. But, no, there were NO balloons. Thinking that they would show up well before the six o'clock scheduled beginning of the balloon glow, we hung out, ate a funnel cake and let the kids run around. Three hours later, the closest we'd gotten to seeing a balloon was when the Dean's Milk Cow balloon truck pulled up and parked in front of us.

Honestly, I am really disappointed by this experience. It was great to see Kevin, Amber and Jessie, but I am totally let down by the whole balloon festival fiasco. In fact, I am going to use the "contact us" feature of the festival's website to make a few suggestions, something along the lines of them having at least a few balloons on display during the afternoon of the festival...

All was not lost in that I was able to get a few good pictures. Here is Jonathan happily waiting for planes to take off:

And here he is with Jessie hanging out on a picnic table. It's so funny to see him with Jessie because you would think he was the younger of the two but he is actually older than her by at least seven months. Isn't she adorable in her sunglasses?

They had a "sample" out of service balloon that they had set up with cold air so that you could walk inside it. Although I thought this was really cool, both Jonathan and Jessie were scared of it.

Today is supposed the be equally as nice as yesterday so perhaps we will go to the Italian American festival, which is also going on this weekend. But if there is no Italian food, I am going to be one unhappy person...


Twin Mommy Law Chick said...

Hm, an aptly named festival, don't you think??? LOL At least you got some carnival food so all was not lost!

Janice said...

Wonder why they didn't have any balloons? Were they just full of "hot air"? Kidding. That was a terrible joke. Anyway, glad you guys got some fair food though. Just mention fair food to me and I'm there!

By the way, the pictures inside one of the balloons are cool!

Bryan said...

My E-mail to Joni Collins the Director of the Festival -

Joni, my wife and I attended this year’s festival with our 2 year old son for the first time. Having spent a week talking about all the balloons he was going to see, he was quite excited. We arrived at 3:00 on Saturday and observed the following: a myriad of inflatables, a decent selection of food, a beer/wine tent, and a gigantic empty field without a single balloon. After asking a vendor about the conspicuous absence of balloons at a balloon festival, they explained that they would be back around 5:00 – 5:30 since the glow is scheduled to start at 6:00. By 6:15 there were several (7) team trucks in the field, but not one balloon even being laid out, let alone inflated. Due to our son’s sleeping schedule we left the balloon festival without seeing one actual balloon. As you can imagine, making a 2 year old understand why there were no balloons was a daunting challenge.

While I understand the teams are due some rest after the morning race, it really should be a priority for the festival to maintain some balloons on the grounds or at the very least, note in your advertisements that there are large chunks of time during which there are absolutely no balloons on site. Of course now we’ll know to come later, and once our child can stay up later he’ll be in for the show of his life with his first balloon glow, but for now he’ll have to enjoy seeing on TV what we missed seeing in person.

With all that said, my wife and I would hope that perhaps next year, the festival could convince a few balloonists to come back after the race, set up shop, tether the balloons and be the center of attention for a few hours. Especially considering the propane is included in their registration and it would only costs them their time.

We wish continued success with the festival and we’ll be back.

Shana-Lynn said...

Wow, that totally bites. I would have been so let down. Bryan, your letter is great. Let us know what her response it.

Glad you were able to get inside of the one balloon and got to eat some fair food.

Susie PSU said...

You were royally ripped off. Sue them! hee hee

Great letter to them.

Jonathan's Mommy said...

Here is the response Bryan received this morning from a representative of the balloon festival. Not all that helpful if you ask me:

"We regret that your son was disappointed, and we understand your position. We will take your suggestion under advisement for the coming year. Thank you for taking the time to write and explain your thoughts in such a courteous manner. We do hope to have you and your family back next year."

Andrea said...

Oh man- I can't believe that response!

I am sorry you didn't see any balloons- I would have been sad too!

Angela said...

I have decided that you need to be a food critic. It will satisfy your need to get out with your husband, and you will get to critique things in the poetic way you do and have a really great meal in the meantime.

I was in the 'ville for that festival and couldn't figure out for the life of me why there was a cow stuck in a tree in the middle of Bowman Field. Of course, with all that's been going on with the Airport Authority, it wasn't really a stretch.

Love you all and hope to see you soon.