Up, up and away

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Photo by Maddie Patton

Shezal Padani, Staff Writer

     The sight was a beautiful one, as the colorful and ornate balloons decorated the puffy white clouds hovering overhead. It was almost unreal as the heads of individuals, young and old, turned to gaze at the massive balloons in awe.

     On Sep. 22 at approximately 6 p.m., more than 2,000 people from all over the city witnessed a vast array of hot air balloons launch over 100 feet into the sky at the annual Plano Balloon Festival. The occasion caused an atmosphere of excitement around the younger children as they saw the balloons launched from the ground into the sky right in front of their curious eyes. The festival was for both young and old, as children in strollers and wagons came streaming into the festival followed by old couples yearning to spend quality time together. Teenage couples walked hand in hand, excited to see what the buzz of the festival was all about. The rush was never-ending; individuals of all races and religions entered the festival. The diversity of the city was evident as individuals represented their culture through traditional clothing.

     The aroma of turkey legs, corn dogs, fresh lemonade, sweet tea and pizza fresh out of the oven filled the air. The choices for dining were endless, proven by the great expanse of time it took some individuals to finally decide what to eat. Although the majority of the food was not healthy in the least, it was a great Saturday night treat to spend with family and friends.

     In addition to the food, there was a wonderful area dedicated to the people of our younger generation. Children stormed the bounce house and anxiously awaited their turns on the slides. Not too far from them was a booth located for winning prizes, including stuffed animals and other treasures for the kids. There was also a spot dedicated to teenagers where music blared from the stage on the other side of the festival. A crowd of teens stood in front of this stage, dancing and bobbing to the music. Although the band could have played more recent tunes to attract a greater audience, it was still a great addition to the festival.

     To top it all off, at approximately 9 p.m., a giant thud vibrated across the wide expanse of grassy field, halting most conversations. The first firework was launched into the night sky, filling it with light and color. More than a thousand people were sprawled across the massive hill, filling each and every spot and leaving room for none. Viewers of all ages took seats next to their loved ones to enjoy the show. As the last firework was launched into the sky, the festival-goers slowly began to rise, finishing up their conversations and beginning the long one-mile walk back to their cars.

     ­ The massive balloons that flew magically through the sky earlier were now on the ground deflated, but they were equally as impressive. The mood was one of silent satisfaction as the crowd made their way to the exit, reflecting on the sights of the day. All in all, the Balloon Festival was a great experience and is a wondrous event that everyone should attend. The chance to see a hot air balloon launch more than 100 feet into the sky is not one that comes every day.