Family Travel 2012

Nichole Livengood

SOUTH CAROLINA INSIDER

 

High flying fun at Balloons Over Anderson

Posted 11/23/2012 3:40:00 PM

Winds thwarted plans for our own hot air balloon ride at Balloons Over Anderson at the Anderson Civic Center on the first Sunday of November, but that didn’t stop my family from having a high flying adventure at the 4th Annual event.

With paragliding and radio controlled model aircraft demonstrations, Thomas the Train rides, vendors and a large children’s area with multiple inflatables and games, we found there was something to entertain everyone in our family, even after the balloons had disappeared into the sky.

Balloon crews typically take to the field before the sun is up, readying for their early morning flight, and again as the sun prepares to set. Event staff said this is because the weather is best first thing in the morning and late in the day. Typically there are not balloons on the field during the day, which can be confusing to people coming out to the event expecting to see balloons all day long.

Ballooning Fun Fact: During a flight hot air balloons can hover as low as the tree tops and ascend as high as 2,000 feet into the air and even higher.

I talked to Travelers Rest balloonist Anthony Seeger, who has been a balloon pilot for six years. He said he loves the sport because it’s not only exciting -- it is incredibly peaceful when you are up in the sky.

This event is not the only time balloons take flight from this field. It’s a favorite liftoff spot for balloonists in the area, so on a beautiful windless day, you might luck out and see one of these giant balloons take flight. But plans can change with the weather. As we found out, ballooning is very tied to the weather report. Winds over 7-8 mph are enough to keep them grounded and leave ballooning crews playing Frisbee instead of sailing into the air.

Volunteers told us that people had traveled from as far away as California to attend this year’s event. We also got a bit of a history lesson, learning about the first hot air balloon, which took flight in 1783, and how the balloons were used during the French Revolutionary wars, the American Civil War and as observation vessels during World War I.

My daughter made the best of our change of plans and headed to the bouncy slides and inflatables. She took a ride in a human-size hamster ball and strapped in for a soaring adventure on the Super Trampoline, where she was hooked into a harness and bounced off into the air for some daring flips.

We might have missed our balloon ride because of the wind, but we had a great family adventure anyway. The event is free to the public, but there is a charge for rides, concessions and other activities. For dates and more information about Balloons Over Anderson, click here.