Before the pandemic, we missed the Susquehanna Balloon Festival because we went out of town for our granddaughter’s birthday. After being cancelled for two years, it resumed this year a week earlier, so my husband and I attended.

The weather couldn’t have been better: blue sky, gentle breeze, warm air. A perfect August day in Neawha Park, Oneonta.

A family event, we saw many children running around and babies in strollers or cuddled in their mama’s or daddy’s arms. Open spaces in the park allowed kids to run around and holler without disrupting the main attraction of the day: hot air balloons. Of course, there were food trucks with long waiting lines and other vendors selling their wares. Our treat: dark chocolate on a stick (lollipops 😊).

I’ve enjoyed flying in a plane, and I think soaring away in a hot air balloon would be exciting and fun, and maybe a little daunting and breathtaking at first. I’d like to do it one day.

The first hot air balloon took flight over Paris, France, in 1783

Have you read Jules Verne’s novel The Mysterious Island, in which five northern prisoners escape a Civil War prisoner of war camp in a hot air balloon and travel to an island of mystery in the Pacific? Jules Verne, known for his science fiction, published this in 1875.

Today, hot air balloons are constructed to be safe. Nylon or Dacron panels are sewn together to form the envelope, which holds the hot air. The envelope is attached to the basket, or gondola, in which the pilot and passengers ride. Special reinforcements hold it all together. The hot air to fill the envelope is created by a burner attached to the basket and connected to a propane tank. The pilot controls the burner and the flight of the balloon. This is a simple explanation, but there are many websites that inform about hot air balloons if you’re interested in learning more.


The geometric patterns are beautiful.


Some balloons are cute…                                             and some tell a story.

At night they glow.

See you in the sky!