Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Trip 8: Seaside Balloon Fest

State parks visited: 7

Back in January, we...Floridians...had the chance to experience something very rare for us:  Snow.  Conditions were just perfect for everything from 'frozen precipitation' in some areas (like my home here in Orange City) to a full dusting of the white stuff in others.  This is a big deal.  The weekend in question had a lot going on, and this weather threw everything into chaos.  My husband was taking part in a Boy Scout camp out in the infield of the Daytona International Speedway.  My brother and nephew, too, for that matter.  Several Polar Bear badges were earned that weekend!  Imagine waking up to snow-covered tents with the high banks of the track in the background.  Olivia and I spent part of the evening with our assorted family members but decided to sleep in the comfort of our home.  We should have stayed at the track, because it turns out we were in the middle of a major power outage that lasted well into Sunday afternoon.  Imagine coming home to a dark house, freezing cold, middle of the night, kid asleep in the backseat.  Not pleasant.  We toughed it out, though, and spend Sunday with my parents, who did not lose power.

Okay, so what was the point of all that?  Well, that same weekend, the city of New Smyrna Beach attempted to hold their 2nd Annual Seaside Balloon Fest.  I had heard about it from friends and knew I wanted to take Olivia to see the hot air balloons.  We bundled up and headed down on Friday night to the beautiful city of NSB.  Friday night was supposed to be the Balloon Glow, in which they inflate the balloons and leave them tethered, swaying in the breeze, with music playing.  Nobody predicted that, instead of the ocean breeze, they'd have record low temperatures with howling winds.  Pure misery!  And so, the festival was called off, postponed until the weekend of May 21-23.

I picked Olivia up from school, grabbed a quick bite at the House of Golden Arches, and recreated our journey from January.  This time the weather was far more cooperative.  We met up with one of my good friends, Aimee, and her wife, Jen.  They had already had a chance to wander around the festival by the time we got there.  Thankfully, Olivia wasn't groggy.  You see, she decided to take a little nap on the trip out:

The festival itself was set up on an unused runway at the regional airport, just like I remembered it from January.  We wandered around, and since we were all about the balloons, I let Olivia have one of her very own:

Just ignore the trash can in the background.

So, 8pm came and they started inflating the balloons.  At this point I should let you know that, while I knew what to expect from this planned evening of the Balloon Glow, I did not prepare very well for it.  I didn't bring any chairs.  My mistake, seriously, because all I really wanted to do was kick back and chill with all the balloons around.  Things started to get pretty crowded...not a fan of that...and Olivia's nap fortified her with crazy energy.  Needless to say, my mood quickly tanked.

But still, the balloons were pretty:

Aimee and Jen decided they were about done seeing the sights and headed home.  Olivia and I stuck it out just a little while longer...just long enough to grab a snack and lemonade and take a few pictures.  And I realized something.  I felt, again, let down by a festival.  Not just that, but I felt like I had kind of let the festival down.  My plan was to hang out and relax Friday night, and then to get up way early Saturday morning and take Olivia back to watch the balloons launch. heart just wasn't in it.  I don't know if it's because The Boys were working and weren't there to enjoy the fest with us.  Olivia's behavior, maybe?  I just don't know.  Maybe next year conditions will be different.  Maybe it will be in January, snow-free, and maybe The Boys will be there.  I'll give it another shot.  I love to watch the balloons floating around.

Until then, I'll look through my pictures and look forward to next year.  Enjoy!

This final picture was taken with a nighttime setting on my camera.  I think it's pretty cool!

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