What a thrill to watch hot air balloons being inflated and take off into the wild blue yonder. The Franklin County Chamber of Commerce is offering this thrill at the Green River Festival! Master pilots from all over New England will be with us, many of whom have been regulars at this event and love the area as a place to fly. Launches are scheduled for approximately 6:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday and 6:00 a.m. Sunday. There is no charge to watch the early morning balloon launches and it’s a great experience for all ages.
Hot Air Balloon rides originate at Greenfield Community College grounds. Flights last anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour. Of course, the length of the flight is largely dependent upon the winds and weather conditions of the day.
There will also be a Balloon Glow (balloons illuminated) on Saturday night around 9pm.
Balloons are visible on site only during launch times. Due to winds, the balloons can only inflate and fly during early morning or evening hours. They do not fly during the day although tether rides will be available.
Passengers must be over the age of 10 and in good health. If you are pregnant, recently released from the hospital, have current broken bones or casts you will not be able to qualify to purchase a ride. Passengers under the age of 18 must have parental permission or the parent must fly with them. Riders are accepted at the discretion of the ride operator. All passengers will be required to sign a release form provided at the Festival balloon tent.
BALLOON RIDE TICKETS
Prices for 2014 balloon rides are:
To make flight reservations, please contact us by telephone at (413) 773-5463 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org. Don't forget to leave your daytime telephone number so we can contact you.
The History of Ballooning
Ballooning is the oldest form of flight and began about the time of the American Revolution near the end of the eighteenth century, coinciding with the demise of the French monarchy.
A pair of brothers called Montgolfier began running a number of tests to minimize the dangers of combustion and to develop a balloon fabric which could produce the results they were seeking. June 5 that year, the Montgolfier project became airborne. Benjamin Franklin, then ambassador to France, reported that the balloon weighted almost 1,600 pounds, had a lift of nearly 600 pounds, and rose to a height of 6,000 feet over the Village of Annonay, south of Lyons.
Shortly thereafter, the aristocratic French court party of Charlier attempted to rival this success. Their balloon rose to some 3,000 feet, disappeared into a low cloud cover and landed some fifteen miles away. Thinking it was a monster from outer space, a group of farmers attacked it with their pitch forks, then tied the deflated envelope to a horse who galloped about until they were convinced it was dead.
Hot air balloon ascensions today bear little resemblance to yesteryear. However, the thrill of this sport has generated great interest in many parts of the world. Propane gas is heated by a burner and gradually fills the balloon before ascent. The pilot uses this burner to control altitude after being airborne. Each pilot has a chase crew who keeps the balloon in sight and follows it to its landing.
It is the experience of a lifetime. Pilots safely land in an open field or farmland. Passengers share champagne and nibbles with the landowners and neighbors gather from far and wide to share in the excitement.
Everyone pitches in to roll up the balloon and store it for the next launch.