Every Memorial Day Weekend in my home town there is a huge hot air balloon festival. If you have never been to one, it is worth the trip just once. Unlike many big events such as this, you can get out and walk right around them all as they are being put up and inflated. You can get right in the middle of the action. This year I think there is somewhere near 100 balloons participating.
My young daughter even jumped right in the middle of it all, helping one crew inflate their balloon. She was in awe, and the fact that they are so big up close, along with so many in a tight space, makes for quite an experience. They usually have to have almost perfect weather to fly. No bad weather, not to much wind, etc... Yesterday morning was an rare exception...not enough wind. What, you say? That's right, not enough wind. They were afraid they would get over the river here, other other not good areas, not go far, and run out of propane, plunging back to earth in a bad spot. Yet, they all inflated and tethered on the launch field, so we were able to walk around and see them all up close.
Our house isn't to far from the launch field. This morning the balloons we going out to other locations, launching, and trying to fly into the field. A good many of them flew right over the house as we stood int he driveway watching. Coffee in hand of course! It's amazing how there is no noise at all, except when they fire the propane burner. You can even hear the people inside them talking as the slowly drift overhead.
Some of the balloons just have designs on them. some have advertisements and are sponsored, like a Pepsi balloon shaped like a Pepsi can. One is sponsored by the Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt Medical Center. And yes, there is even one shaped like some sort of cartoon bird.
So, I would recommend it if you ever have the chance to go to a gathering or festival like this. It's quite an experience, especially if you have never been. And the kids..well they absolutely love it!