Indianola Iowa has been a hotbed (no pun intended) of hot air ballooning on the national scene for decades. In 1970 the newly created Balloon Federation of American was looking for a site to hold a sanctioned National Championship event. The Iowa State fairgrounds and sites in the city of Indianola were used that first year and eventually all events moved to the Indianola area.
Sanctioned national championship competitions continued to be held there until the late 80s. Since the sanctioned championships left, Indianola has continued to host ballooning festivals every year. The events are well attended by both competitors and fans alike.
Each year there are ascensions and competitions nearly every night of the week-long-plus event. The cost is reasonable for spectators to enter the actual event launching area and observe the balloons and their crews 'up close and personal'. The website for the event is found here.
There are balloon flights in the morning and evening and free entertainment events scheduled over the full run of the event. A balloon flight for yourself and your family can even be arranged ahead of time.
Our family has a long-running tradition of going to watch the balloons fly each year. We usually watch from properties that surround the launch area and simply watch the balloons as they drift through the dusk air. This year we found a viewing area just a short distance from the launching area. We were able to get some great shots as many balloons floated by directly overhead or nearby.
This year one drifted over not thirty feet above us, making for some wonderful shots of the colorful balloon. Another landed in a field nearby and we were able to observe that process; both the landing and the deflating of the balloon.
Take a look at some of our pictures and imagine drifting lazily on the evening breeze. If you ever get the chance to go see a mass ascension of hot air balloons ...go. And make sure you take your camera.
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