Wellington Balloonfest

Mother Nature is a very nasty lady. For the second year in a row, she crushed the Wellington Balloonfest. This was the 4th, and it actually got to open. Last year’s was canceled due to bad weather. While most of the area saw clear blue skies and very high temps, the Fairgrounds actually saw a cloudburst for 15 minutes. The downpour was so heavy and the raindrops so large, the owner of one of the food booths said the drops looked white, and it looked like hail coming down.

Because of the weather, a number of balloon owners were contacted enroute to the Fairgrounds from the Columbus area and told not to make the trip. Seven balloon teams made it to the grounds, but the Re/Max balloon was the only one that was inflated and giving tether rides.

There was musical entertainment, as well as food booths, and games for adults and children.

A very long line for tether rides.

Wellington Balloon Fest ’09

It was almost two years ago, but something I envisioned finally happened.  I had proposed to Ted Kalo in an email the idea of a balloon fest at the Lorain County Fairgrounds. Saturday night, Wellington held their 2nd Annual Balloon Fest at the Fairgrounds. While it was definitely bigger than last years, there are still a few kinks that need worked out.  First, the pictures.

While definitely smaller than the 20 balloons that I’d seen advertised, it was quite picturesque.  Lining the drive into the fairgrounds were photographers of all ages, all levels of experience, from cellphone cameras to very expensive D-SLR’s.

Unfortunately, these photographers lined the side of the road opposite the balloons, so that all the traffic coming into the grounds passed in front of them. I arrived there just before the sun set, and a little before the glow started. Taking pictures was quite a challenge because so many folks weren’t staying after dark, and more were coming in just for the glow. Behind the photographers were a lot of people set up in lawn chairs, watching the last few balloons inflate, due to a late 8pm launch, due to weather.

I’d like to offer a few suggestions for future fests. When I hear that there’s going to be a “glow” at a balloon fest, this is what I envision:

 

That’s not exactly what we saw Saturday night. That’s fine, this event is still developing. And there’s lots to learn. Another thing is the parking/exiting situation. Dozens of folks opted to turn left as they exited the parking area, because the road to the right was considerably backed up. We got about a quarter mile before everyone had to turn around and come back because this route was apparently blocked off. A blockade with a sign saying “Road Closed” would have been very helpful closer to the parking area.  And the Auxiliary Policeman that was ‘directing’ the exodus would probably have helped things move much quicker if he’d have allowed 5-10 cars at a time from the road and from the parking area rather than 1 at a time from each direction.

I hate to ‘dis’ anything like this, but a lot more could have been done with this to improve everyone’s enjoyment.

A Year Ago Today…

I officially dedicated myself full-time to this blog. I had said my goodbye’s and left the nest.

It’s been fun. It has. It’s been more work, of course, but I don’t have to worry about work I’d spent quite a bit of time on, getting buried under another’s post an hour after I published. And there are times I had to dig deep and scrape just to get new material here to keep from losing everyone’s interest.

There are things that I planned on doing here that just didn’t happen. There are things I hadn’t planned on doing that I did, and I’m quite happy I made the time.

More buildings got knocked down before they fell on folks, and balloons lifted up in Wellington last year. First time, I believe, in the County. I had done this in August of 2007 and sent it to the County Commissioners. I posted this less than a year later. Coinky-dink? Maybe.

I kept up on my commitment to cover our Armed Forces last year.

I covered quite a bit of sports, but that was mostly an affair of the heart, rather than work.

I continued to spotlight Metroparks events. That was more love than labor, too.

I can honestly say, that even though it’s been more work going solo, it’s work that I love.

I’m making an effort to do more ‘County’ things, rather than ‘City of Lorain’ things. I was warmly welcomed by Avon Mayor Jim Smith for this article, and will do follow-ups as Opening Day approaches.

I think the busiest time, and the most news-worthy item around the area was the Bascule Bridge debacle.

So, a year has passed, and I’m a year older, wiser, and a bit more experienced. Whether that’s good or bad, only time will tell.

Thanks for your time, and your visits, and your input.

Time to get back to work.

Lovin’ it every step of the way.

Wellington Balloonfest, Part II

Last summer I ‘dragged’ my family to the Canton Balloon Invitational, and wrote about it as a ‘Hope to Bring to Lorain’ piece. I had emailed Lorain County Commissioner Ted Kalo the links to the two articles, suggesting that a similar event in Lorain County would be something worth looking into.

Ted looked into it enough that he sponsored a balloon, and took a ride on it. Really enjoyed himself!

These are some of the photos taken by the balloon pilot’s (Ken Myers) daughter, Jan McClure.

 

 

 

 

So, if you enjoy what you see above, and in the provided links, the next time you see Ted, bug the snot outta him and tell him we need one of these in Lorain. And if not the City of Lorain, then a much larger one for Lorain County!! And you can tell him I sent ya!!

Wellington Balloonfest

Yes, you read that right.

Wellington had a Balloonfest last night, sponsored by the Wellington Chamber of Commerce and the Lorain County Office on Aging Southern Satellite Office. If you remember (or were around here) when I posted this and this. I had contacted Ted Kalo, Lorain County Commissioner, about seeing what it would take for Lorain to do something like this. Ted was there last night, he even sponsored one of the balloons and got to ride in it!! (Pictures from Ted are forthcoming.)

While I was unfortunate enough to miss out on part of it, I did get some pictures, and when and if I get permission, another photographer friend got some shots of the ‘glow’ afterward, where they light up the balloons after dark. (If you follow the second link above, there are three videos of the Akron glow.)

More details later!!