As much as we love getting Outside Suburbia, there are times I’m excited that I live in the Suburbs – September is one of those times when Hot Air Balloons float across the autumn skies of Plano. Plano hosts the biggest, brightest, finest Balloon festivals. It has become a yearly fall tradition for us to grab our picnic blankets and a few dollars and head to the festival that is hosted over a weekend. There are usually Hot Air balloon launches, Balloon glows at night and Tethered Balloon rides – what more can a Hot Air Balloon aficionado wish for!?
The festival usually opens with a Parachute team flying in to kick off the 3 day celebration. On Saturday and Sunday morning the colorful balloons are launched and there is a Balloon Fly-in Competition. A concert is usually playing at the center stage at Oak point Park in the evenings while we try to find the best churros and hotdog stand or even some fried guacamole. When it gets dark enough it is time for the spectacular firework show on Saturday night. Over the last couple of years they have also hosted a Half Marathon, Relay, 5K and 1K Runs, that I have watched but never participated.
Did I mention the hot air balloons comes in different shapes and colors, there were 45 magnificent, colorful, hot air balloons this year. Special Shapes that attend the festival are fun to spot no matter what age you are. My husband always wonders how old I really am when I start jumping and clapping when I see one of the fun shapes lift off! The featured Special Shapes that participated this year include: Joelly the Baby Bee, Betty Jean the Butterfly, Flying Purple People Eater, Pepe, Baby Dino, Bimbo Bear, High Diddle Diddle, Peg Leg Pete the Pirate Parrot, and the always popular High Jack.
There is also a fun “Toddler Zone” with all kinds of interactive inflatable rides. Our kids have raced through the obstacle courses, zipped down the huge slides when they were little. Now they like to just chill with us or the friends that they sometimes like to bring along and listen to the music, watching the balloons light up and glow and twinkle. We have to fight allergies(Texas allergens manage to find a way into your system after a few years of living here) and some serious traffic to get to the park, but once we are there the joy of watching the Plano skies light up with Balloons and fireworks is like no other!
Here is a photo diary of my visit to the Plano Balloon Festival
Its hart to resist all the fried goodies at the festival, we tried the fried guacamole and funnel cake!
Plano Balloon Festival Circa 2005
Plano Balloon festival 2016
This young lady accompanied me to the festivities this year! Mr. Outside Suburbia and D were busy with baseball and friends had other plans so it was just me going to Festival this year. When she heard that I was going by myself to the Balloon festival, she canceled her plans to go to the Homecoming Football game with her friends and went with me to watch the balloons and indulge in some fried food. It was a bittersweet moment for me since she will be off to college next year and be missing our yearly tradition!
Many pilots conclude their flight with reciting the “Balloonist’s Prayer”
THE BALLOONIST’S PRAYER
“May the winds welcome you with softness.
May the sun bless you with its warm hands.
May you fly so high and so well that God joins you in laughter
And sets you gently back into the loving arms of Mother Earth.”
Unfortunately, this year’s festivities were dampened a little by the winds and rain and the launch was canceled. So didn’t really get some captures of the floating hot air balloons but we still got to enjoy the balloon glow Friday evening! And on Saturday morning the launch fields were opened up for the guest to come to visit with pilots, get an up-close look at the baskets, engines, and balloons and even collect some hot air balloon trading cards.
2019 mark’s 40 years of Ballooning in Plano and Collin County! You can join in the Celebration at the InTouch Credit Union Plano Balloon Festival’s spectacular three-day event beginning at 4:00pm Friday, September 20 at Oak Point Park, 2801 E. Spring Creek Parkway, Plano, TX 75074. Click here for some great information about the Plano Balloon Festival, schedule for the years’ festivities and the history of Ballooning.
You might also like: Soaring about the Savannah in a Hot air balloon Safari in Serengeti and High above the Sonoran Desert.
UPDATED July 2019