Hot Air Balloon Festival 2012

A couple of weeks ago, I got a chance to go to the Plano Hot Air Balloon Festival. Like last year, to join with a balloon team and help crew. I did this last year with Rocky Bailey, brother of my friend Dena, and I got to help set up the balloon, FLY, and take down the balloon. This year, I was on the chase team. I got to set up the balloon, and then Rocky and I chased it down in the truck and helped put it away. There are few things I would willingly wake up at 4:30 a.m. for, but the balloon festival is one. It was a lot of fun, because not only was I hanging out with relatively new friends and surrounded by AMAZING hot air balloons, but this year I actually had a little experience and was able to be more helpful. I will say, actually flying last year was the BEST, but chasing the balloons, watching them soar above us, and experiencing it all up-close was phenomenal!
Arriving at the field
Yes, it was early! The sun was rising just as the balloons were inflating.
Ready to set up the "High Horizons"
One of the first balloons in the air
My job was holding open the mouth of the balloon so the fan could slowly fill the balloon with air. This is looking into the balloon as it inflated.
Upright, with burners heating the air
Ready to take flight
A successful launch!
We tracked down the balloon in a small field and quickly set to work packing it all away.
Didn't get a photo of me with my pilot (Rocky) last year, so here we are. 
A post-flight champagne toast


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