It’s been a busy summer and adventures have been especially plentiful these last few weeks. In fact, it’s been so busy that keeping up with storytelling here has been a real challenge.
The trip to Piatt Castles last week included a detour to the Hot Air Balloon Festival in Marysville. I’ve been hesitant to tell you this story because I typically avoid negativity on this blog. There are enough people who seem to think it their duty to point out all the bad in the world – we don’t need me adding to the mix. However, the fact I wasn’t thrilled doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy it so the rules are about to be bent a little
Here’s the abbreviated version of this story: the balloons were beautiful, the festival wasn’t so great.
The festival opened in the afternoon the Saturday of my visit. The schedule advertised the arrival of balloons at 4:30 and the balloon launch at 6:30. The website pictured several nice balloons that would be there as well as a lovely image of several balloons in the sky.
When I arrived at 3:30, an enthusiastic crowd had begun to gather but 4:30 came and went with no balloons. In fact, it was close to 7 before we saw the first balloon. I saw people leaving in frustration, disappointed kids in tow because they didn’t want to sit out in the hot August sun for a moment longer. Since it’s held at an airport, there is essentially no shade and few places to get in out of the blistering sun.
This kid seemed to speak for us all.
I now know how to interpret the schedule – the balloons arrive in trucks by 5 p.m. and they are aired up immediately before launching. This means that balloons were in the air for just a few minutes. Also, it was not several at one time as the website depicted but one or two at a time.
So there’s my complaint.
The good news is that they offer some fun activities for kids and, if festival food is your thing, there’s plenty to eat and drink. The U.S. Air Force was there too and had a Thunderbird jet on display.
The balloons were pretty, even if some advertised balloons weren’t there. I’m guessing they went up on one of the other two festival days.
Saturday admission was just $10 and parking was $5. They did a lighted launch after dark – although I didn’t stay for that. I had invested a lot of time already and simply wanted to go home.
You could take a biplane or helicopter ride and they were offering tethered balloon rides – although I never saw that actually happen. I was dying to take a biplane ride but couldn’t justify the expense so close to vacation. The opportunity will come again and will make a great adventure for another day.
On the trip out of town I saw folks with lawn chairs in store parking lots and thought that would be a far better way to enjoy the balloons without the hassle of parking, crowds or expensive bottled water since no outside food or drinks are allowed in.
That would be better for me but maybe not better for you. If you have kids or enjoy the excitement of a crowd this could be a fabulous time for you!!
I don’t want to discourage you from going and supporting the festival but have to be honest that this is not the place for me. If I ever go back, it will either be for the lighted launch or just to enjoy from somewhere outside the festival grounds.
Want to know more? Here’s the link to their event. It will be back next year!! There are other similar festivals in Ohio and I would be interested in visiting another someday.