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Balloon Spectacular 2009 – Day 1

johnboy 10 March 2009 38

[First filed: March 07, 2009 @ 08:53]

Despite their benign and sedate appearance hot air balloon festivals are pretty dangerous things. After space travel It’s hard to find an activity with a higher fatality rate. The basic problem is that hot air balloons have zero visibility above them, and limited visibility below them. And what are the only two directions of controlled movement available? Up, or down.

Anyway the Canberra Festival might have a lineup of limited appeal, but we’ve still got the balloons adorning the skies of Canberra every morning for the nine days of the Balloon Spectacular.

Advised it would all start at 6.30am I set the alarm for 6, resisted the urge to hit snooze, stumbled around blearily, and managed to get into the car with everything I needed.

On the Northern shore of the lake I was the first of what turned into quite a gaggle of photographers positioned to make the most of the occasion.

At 6.30am there were very few signs of activity from the far shore. If you’re thinking about going plan to get there by 7 and you won’t have missed much.

It was cold. It was dark. It was dull.

Then slowly the envelopes began to fill, the burners started to roar, and the balloons one by one took to the sky. Jazz music drifted over from the other side, and it was a beautiful morning to be alive.

There’s a special sort of smile that will break out on your face only when you see a string of hot air balloons drifting across the Canberra skyline.

As a once-off thing I recommend it highly.

Here’s a snippet of video I shot to get a sense of scale but I recommend the slideshow.

UPDATED: The ABC reports that despite it being an annual event the tent embassy have been so incensed by a lack of warning that one of them has thrown a spear at a balloon. The embassy is now being given a wider berth.

(Slideshow below)


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38 Responses to Balloon Spectacular 2009 – Day 1
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toriness toriness 9:31 am 07 Mar 09

some really nice photos there JB. sounds like it was an uplifting experience LOL. seriously though – you reckon the north shore is the best spot for viewing?

johnboy johnboy 9:39 am 07 Mar 09

To actually see the balloons in the air, yes.

To be part of all the launching malarkey, other side.

nanzan nanzan 9:51 am 07 Mar 09

Does anyone know how far today’s balloons travelled? Did anyone see any coming down anywhere far away from the balloon field?

We were going to go this morning but a less than well child put heed to that…we will try again tomorrow morning. We waited, however, in Palmerston, for any sign of the balloons drifting this far and this way, but no such luck. I guess from Parkes to Palmerston is a far amount of ground to cover on a very still morning.

johnboy johnboy 9:54 am 07 Mar 09

I don’t like your chances Nanzan, they try to come back down where they took off from. Some today came back down within a couple of hundred metres of takeoff.

deye deye 9:59 am 07 Mar 09

nanzan said :

Does anyone know how far today’s balloons travelled? Did anyone see any coming down anywhere far away from the balloon field?

We were going to go this morning but a less than well child put heed to that…we will try again tomorrow morning. We waited, however, in Palmerston, for any sign of the balloons drifting this far and this way, but no such luck. I guess from Parkes to Palmerston is a far amount of ground to cover on a very still morning.

and in the wrong direction today.

GardeningGirl GardeningGirl 10:56 am 07 Mar 09

Great photos.

I-filed I-filed 11:31 am 07 Mar 09

ABC News reports that a charming fellow at the Tent Embassy threw a spear at one of the balloons this morning – apparently for landing (as permitted) on the lawn in front of OPH.

Granny Granny 4:09 pm 07 Mar 09

They used to fly over Kaleen all the time when we lived there, and one even landed on the school oval across the road. The kids used to love it. I must confess I did too, even though they were surprisingly noisy.

Pommy bastard Pommy bastard 5:04 pm 07 Mar 09

Is that a golliwog balloon?

Igglepiggle Igglepiggle 5:08 pm 07 Mar 09

Love the balloons, we go every year. Am planning on tomorrow but will check out the wind first.. (they don’t go up if its too windy)

old canberran old canberran 6:19 pm 07 Mar 09

I like the black swans in formation. That’s a great pic. The rest are good stuff as well.

Granny Granny 6:33 pm 07 Mar 09

We’re planning to go Friday weather-permitting.

BenMac BenMac 7:01 pm 07 Mar 09

I finish work at 7 tomorrow so i’ll go and take some shots afterwards.

BerraBoy68 BerraBoy68 8:00 pm 07 Mar 09

Pommy bastard said :

Is that a golliwog balloon?

OMG! Cant use that term over here PB. We even changed the brand name of a popular biscuit to avoid that word. Strange but true…

Pommy bastard Pommy bastard 7:49 am 08 Mar 09

BerraBoy68 said :

Pommy bastard said :

Is that a golliwog balloon?

OMG! Cant use that term over here PB. We even changed the brand name of a popular biscuit to avoid that word. Strange but true…

Ok, the word is banned, but the image remains. What is that balloon it referred to as these days?

The “G” word is a political hot potato in the UK these days, which was the reason for my inquiry; see below.

# News – UK – Queen’s shop removes golliwog toy . Last updated: 5 Feb 2009

The £9.99 golliwog toys had been on sale in the Sandringham shop for more than a year.

news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7871193.stm
# News – Scotland – Lawyer fined for ‘golliwog’ joke . Last updated: 22 May 2005

The golliwog first appeared more than 100 years ago in a children’s book by Florence Kate Upton and was later adopted by jam maker James Robertson & Sons as a trademark in 1910.

news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/4570327.stm
# News – UK Politics – Tory steps down in golliwog row . Last updated: 5 Sep 2001

A golliwog led to the row Mr Abraham said he knew nothing about the golliwog which had now been removed.

news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/uk_politics/newsid_152…/1527317.stm
#
Results from “News – Magazine”

* News – Magazine – What if you had a racist friend? . Last updated: 9 Feb 2009

Carol Thatcher’s “golliwog” comment did not go down well “They are involving you, trying to make you collude by saying it to you.”

news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/7879169.stm

Gobbo Gobbo 9:06 am 08 Mar 09

Ok, the word is banned, but the image remains. What is that balloon it referred to as these days?

The biscuits are now known as Scalliwags, so that must be a Scalliwag balloon.

http://www.gollycorner.co.uk/ScallyWrapper.jpg

Actually, from the same site as I got the Scalliwag wrapper, there are also balloon images. They refer to them as Golly balloons. 🙂

http://www.gollycorner.co.uk/gollyballpix.htm

Granny Granny 10:16 am 08 Mar 09

Our family loves Golliwogs. I’m going to buy some while I still can. What’s going to happen to Little Black Sambo? That’s one of my favourite books ever.

Thumper Thumper 10:49 am 08 Mar 09

Threw a spear at a balloon?

What a winner this fool is…

housebound housebound 11:04 am 08 Mar 09

We drove past this late-ish yesterday morning (around 8am), and it looked as if there were fewer balloons that in past years. Where was the frog and the house, for example?

I thought it might be because we were so very late, but the slides suggest that it was actually a bit quieter.

BerraBoy68 BerraBoy68 11:22 am 08 Mar 09

Granny said :

Our family loves Golliwogs. I’m going to buy some while I still can. What’s going to happen to Little Black Sambo? That’s one of my favourite books ever.

LOL. Buying golliwogs! This thread has certainly taken an accidental downturn and I’m sure I’m going to bad place for being amused by it.

@post #18 – Thumper: It’s funny if you can imaging the balloon whoooshing all over the sky after being pearced. That said, the thrower is a bloody dangerous idiot. I attended a course at OPH some years ago and one of the Tent ‘Ambassadors’ threw a spear at a bunch of tourists leaving the building. I asked the guards to call the cops, they didn’t. They just went outside and had a chat to him. Then he left to chase a couple of girls on their bikes with his sharpened stick.

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