Tag Archives: Unionville

2014 Chester County Balloon Festival

I FINALLY got through the gates and found a place to park, and it feels SO good to stretch my legs!

I gathered my gear, and started up the hill.

I HOPE I can find my spot later…

As I got to the dirt road, I heard a voice call my name, and it was Brian A, a fellow local photographer in his car with his wife, and they were leaving.

We chatted for a little bit, and I headed off for my well deserved beer!

It was quit noticeable, the lack of balloons in the air, just laying on the ground like colorful shadows…

Walking to the Victory beer truck, I did see someone was taking advantage of the strong winds, by flying a very colorful kite!

You might be able to notice, the long grass had just been cut, and was laying in the sun to get dry, but that did not stop the children from building hay forts in the fields!

I finally got my beer, and quietly drank it, as I surveyed the fields and the setting sun…

My stomach and nose also told me, it was time to get something to eat, so I ventured back up the hill and into the vending area.

and of course, there were kids and parents all over the place!

All eyes were on this man and his flying kite! – As long has his kite was flying high in the air, no balloons were taking off!

FAA Kite Man 144
Image of the FAA Kite Man, monitoring the winds at the Chester County Balloon Festival.

Eventually, one brave group decided to give a balloon raising a try!

As the sun faded, the temperature began to drop.

Folks began to cuddle up, as a few more balloons attempted to fill the night sky.

Cuddling up 171
A couple cuddle up during the flame glows at the Chester County Balloon Festival.

But the winds refused to die down, as the balloons began to slowly sink back to the ground, a mere shadow of what they could have been.

- Andrew
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Getting there is half the battle…

Logan did his best, but the early afternoon at the Brandywine Food & Wine Festival had wiped him out, so I dropped him at Home, and  went back out the door for my second event of the day.

[approx 17:30] – Driving south on Rt 162, the traffic seemed a little bit heavier, but as soon as I got to the intersection of Doe Run Road (Rt 82), I knew it was going to be a long wait…

[18:03] – It took me about a 1000 yards and 30+ minutes until I could grab my cameras and start recording things around me and Posting them to Facebook.

In the Car 001
[18:03] – About Halfway between Rt162/Rt82 intersection and Green Valley Road. If you look carefully, there is a car/van turning around.
In the Car 003
[18:26] – The top of Green Valley Road just a head! You can see the traffic from the other direction. – Images taken while waiting in line for the Chester County Balloon Festival.
In the Car 004
[18:38] – On Green Valley Road, about 150 yards from the last image. – Images taken while waiting in line for the Chester County Balloon Festival.
In the Car 005
[18:44] – On Green Valley Road, almost there!! Damn, can’t Post to FB… No signal… and my battery is low… – Images taken while waiting in line for the Chester County Balloon Festival.
[19:08] – I can finally see the entrance to Plantation Field and hear some music!

[19:13] – I am second in line to turn into the Parking area, but a car of people just pulled out yelling there were not going to be balloons tonight!

[19:21] – I need at least a beer after this… Then I’ll decide about what to do…

- Andrew
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2013 Chester County Balloon Festival

The last time I went to the Chester County Hot Air Balloon Festival was back in 2011, when it was held at the Embreeville Athletic Fields along Telegraph Road (Rt 162).

Back then, I remember that at the gates closest to the balloons, were packed with people and one could hardly move!

This year, the festival was held at Plantation Field Horse Trials just outside of Unionville, and the venue change alone was awesome! Chester County at it’s finest!

That being said, be prepared to walk, up and down the long public slope that features live music, arts & crafts and food booths.

In the small valley, the balloons were unfurled and prepared for flight.

The extremely long fence line offered great close-up views for hundreds at a time, which was a welcomed change!

Earlier in the year, I contacted the festival organizers about getting some Passes for the Chester County Photography Groups (Facebook, Flickr, Google+ and Twitter) and they provided me with 5 All Access Passes!

I posted that I had the Passes to the groups, and with an hour, they were spoken for.

After several round-robin emails and phone calls, I was able to give John Griggs and Michael Weinstein their tickets for the event.

To say that we were not excited would be a gross understatement.

With the passes, we were able to walk freely in the Launch area, as the hot air was being blown into the balloons as they slowly rose into the sky!

Just before sunset, after most of the balloons had launched, the Shaped balloons began their rise, and a featured balloon was the Patriot – The Space Shuttle.

It is HUGE!

It is 190 feet Tall, 115 feet Wide and weighs 992 pounds! [usflagballoon.com]

It is something that really needs to be seen live!

Some of the earlier launched balloons returned, and set up to do some night time glows for the large audience that was still there.

As 9:30 rolled around, there was a general slow exodus from the grounds.

- Andrew
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2011 Chester County Balloon Festival

Tethered Balloon Ride - 2011 Chester County Balloon Fest 034
Tethered Balloon Ride

Back in May, on the Chester County (PA) Photography Facebook page, Daniel Potter posted the first link for the “Chester County Balloon Festival“.

To be honest, I had never heard of this event before and over the next couple of weeks, I tried to help keep the topic alive in my “social” network.

That being said, when Saturday arrived, the kids were very eager to go, and were having a hard time understanding that we were going to be leaving later in the day.

Our plan was to be there for the “Mass Ascension Hot Air Balloon Launch”, which was scheduled to start at 6pm.

Getting there was a breeze, and parking was the typical off-road and on to the grass arrangement.

We got there early enough that the real crows had not gathered, so we were able to leisurely walk around and check up the some of the vendors and get some food.

As we relaxed and ate some dinner, we sat in the field that was allowing folks to walk into semi-inflated interior, and watched as some people climbed into another tethered for a quick ride into the sky..

The starting time for the “Mass Ascension Hot Air Balloon Launch” neared, and we headed toward the viewing area, and managed to squeeze into a small spot.

Both Madison and Logan stretched their necks to see the balloons slowly gaining size as the handlers blew up the balloons with hot air.

Handlers adding hot air to the balloon
Handlers adding hot air to the balloon

We watched as each colorful balloon gained its final shape, and lifted into the air.

Balloons being launched into the air
Balloons being launched into the air

The last few balloons were taking much longer then the traditional ones to fill with air, and kept may new comers guessing what they were, but it was apparent that they were something complex.

Finally the Clown Head and Haunted Halloween House had taken shape, and in the spirit of the balloon, the crew added a little extra touch to the moment!

Skeleton in the Haunted House balloon
Skeleton in the Haunted House balloon

The kids had a great time, and we do plan to go back next year!

Andrew (SDC) - View my '2011 Chester County Balloon Fest' set on Flickriver
- Andrew
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