Monday, August 5, 2019

Atlanta Balloon Glow

Atlanta's first ever Atlanta Balloon Glow was recently held in Piedmont Park, "Atlanta's favorite greenspace", which is now Atlanta's favorite place for tethered hot air balloon rides! 


Atlanta Balloon Glow | Piedmont Park | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor
Atlanta Balloon Glow | Piedmont Park | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

Originally scheduled for Valentine's Day weekend, hot air balloons finally rose from the meadow in the park with thousands in attendance the first weekend of August. Threatened with typical summer afternoon showers, Mother Nature cooperated last-minute allowing all ticket-holders to take flight.


Atlanta Balloon Glow | Piedmont Park | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor
Atlanta Balloon Glow | Piedmont Park | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

I'd totally forgot about the event and was reminded only a couple of days before it happened. By time I saw it online, all the website tickets were sold out. I found it exciting that so many were excited about hot air balloon rides! I'd never been on one, but have had a lifetime love of hot air balloons, a fan since their first flights in France--not that I was alive in the 1780s.


Atlanta Balloon Glow | Piedmont Park | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor
Atlanta Balloon Glow | Piedmont Park | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

I loved that there were so many fellow photographers there...lots of camera envy from my end, but I was also totally blissful having the opportunity to photograph such beautiful balloons. Such a rare opportunity living in the city.

There were LOTS of food trucks, bringing a wide range of cuisines, and a number of retail tents, making for a genuine festival atmosphere! There were tickets for a VIP experience--a reserved seating/viewing area and a couple-ride experience. There was also a separate kids' experience area.


Atlanta Balloon Glow | Piedmont Park | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor
Atlanta Balloon Glow | Piedmont Park | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

There was a guy (event employee) checking the pre-paid line to make sure that everyone's tickets were in order, but I was hopeful that there might be some extra spots, given that it was supposed to be raining (it cleared up on my way home that night, so I went back to the Park), and he told me that they'd be selling tickets after all the current ticket-holders had gone through the line. 


Atlanta Balloon Glow | Piedmont Park | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor
Atlanta Balloon Glow | Piedmont Park | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

He and one other person told me that there would be tickets for sale after all pre-paid ticket holders were in line to go up. I waited in line a couple of times, hoping to get to go up (remember, I'd only learned of the event a couple of days before). Well, it was getting late, and I was quite happy with the photos I'd been able to make and to have been so close to balloons that were taking folks up, so I was headed out...happy for such a beautiful experience!


Atlanta Balloon Glow | Piedmont Park | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor
Atlanta Balloon Glow | Piedmont Park | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

Then, a lady who sounded like she was in charge, announced that they were indeed sold out for the evening, BUT I heard her later tell someone that after all the ticket-holders were through the line that they would evaluate if they could get more through, making additional tickets available for purchase.

LESSON LEARNED: Do not wait! Next year and in coming years, as soon as you see tickets for sale for this event, BUY THEM! Do not chance, do not wait, just get your tickets so that you're sure to get to ride. 


Atlanta Balloon Glow | Piedmont Park | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor
Atlanta Balloon Glow | Piedmont Park | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

Fortunate me, my friend James gave me a ticket, gifting me a first-time experience! "Thank you!" James, it was soooooooo awesome!!! I crave first-time experiences and this is one I'll always remember and it has fueled my desire to go up again, and probably again and again!


Atlanta Balloon Glow | Piedmont Park | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor
Atlanta Balloon Glow | Piedmont Park | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

This was the balloon that I went up in, and I was on the edge of the gondola, so had a perfect view of the balloon's interior. The flames were HOT, not that they would be anything but...still, it was quite the sensation. 


Atlanta Balloon Glow | Piedmont Park | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor
Atlanta Balloon Glow | Piedmont Park | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

Our balloonist, handlebar mustache and all, looked a lot like the Wizard of Oz, AND he was having a great time...so funny! A brief ride, his humor totally enhanced the experience. Grateful he made the ride memorable and fun.


Atlanta Balloon Glow | Piedmont Park | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor
Atlanta Balloon Glow | Piedmont Park | Photo: Travis Swann Taylor

When next year's Atlanta Balloon Glow is announced, get your tickets FAST! This is one Piedmont Park experience that you don't want to miss. Even if you don't go up in a balloon, this is a full-fledged festival, one that's rife with amazing photo opportunities that you won't want to miss. Come early, and stay for sunset...stay for the balloon glow!

See more photos on the wanderlust ATLANTA Facebook page...

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