The Michigan Challenge Balloonfest is one of my favorite summer festivals! It is definitely my favorite to photograph. So many festivals are just an excuse to sell stuff and host a carnival. Balloonfest is a three day long Hot Air Balloon competition in which balloon pilots fly to or from a specific destination and toss beanbags at targets to score points. It is fun to watch the teams unpack their balloons, see them inflate, and fly to their destinations. It seems like Hot Air Balloon Festivals are popping up all around, but the Howell one was the first in the area. That being said, if there is a hot air balloon festival in your area, I highly recommend checking it out!
The Balloon Glow (top) is one of my favorite parts of Balloonfest and it is when the balloons tie down and light up after dark. As you can see from the picture, this is definitely a popular event, with chairs lined up all the way around the main stage area. Balloonfest is very weather sensitive event. The FAA and the local airport is consulted on whether or not it is safe for the balloons to fly. I was excited to see the glowing skydivers as well, but unfortunately, that was cancelled due to high winds.
This year, a balloon accident at the festival made the news. Luckily no one was injured, but the video (above) is terrifying!
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