Huff'n Puff
observers looking straight up 2007, Topeka, Kansas
inflating
airborne
colorful envelopes

Published in the Topeka Capital-Journal, Sept. 13, 2007:

A perfect moment

On Sept. 7, I attended the 2007 Huff 'n Puff Hot Air Balloon Rally at Lake Shawnee. It was my first time.

The weather was perfect. The hot air balloons were plentiful and colorful. It was amazing to watch as knowledgeable crews methodically unrolled, inflated and launched these huge objects into thin air. Thousands of people attended this free event -- many in family groups.

I saw new babies and all other ages, including great-grandparents. People of all colors and creeds were eating, playing, relaxing, learning and enjoying the spectacle together -- side by side -- in harmony.

Some things aren't right in this world, but some things are perfect in their moment of grace. Congratulations, Topeka.
Carpe diem.

CAROL YOHO, Topeka

—Select a photo to see the larger version—
Unpacking

stringing out the envelop

crew unpacks tipped gondola testing burners memories of past rallies stretching the envelop onto the glass

heat and air used to raise balloon crew helps inflate rolling out the envelop as it inflates KU balloon inflates family poses by bright balloons partially inflated

beginning inflation shaping up lighter than air straightening smiley face controlling the top of smiley face as the balloon inflates

more inflating heating the air with flame crews help inflate balloon two balloons inflate one ready, one not

crowds observe 1 crowds observe 2 various stages of inflation crowds get close up and personal inflating one balloon nearly inflated, one spread to inflate

Launching

launching 1 balloon floats over filling the sky view up into balloon gondola Walt waves

cat peeks checker balloon ascends various stages of inflation balloon up breaking from the tethers balloon up 2 nearly ready

Up and Away


balloon up 3 balloon up 4 balloon up 5 two balloon are launched balloon up 6 balloon up 7 balloon up stars and stripes owl balloon up

balloon up 8 many balloons 1 many balloons 2 many balloons 3 many balloons 4 two balloons up

Jayhawk balloon ascends many balloons up 5 balloon above launch area three balloons balloon up 9 many balloons up 6

The Crowds

climbing on the firetruck inspecting the helicopter radio disc jockey two girls in face paint Bassett hound in tutu

Crowd near the food wagons spectators relax and watch the balloons fill and rise relaxing at the Huff'n'Puff

great view on adult shoulders taking a photo of a photo taker strolling with baby carriage near dusk family near the food trailers young girl walks 1

baby boy with toy balloon balloon nearly full enough to launch teens enjoy the evening kids' play area relaxing near the action toddler walks

girl eats blue snocone Indian tacos booth toddler stands by family some toys for sale family enjoys funnel cakes

See also
: Great Plains Balloon Club

From Mark Wunder, Topeka: In picture 16 (the one you call "Smiley"), I'm the guy in the green shirt on the far left side of the balloon. The pilot is the one in the green shirt in the center, making sure the top lines on the top are not tangled. The balloon is called Sunny D'Lite, out of Oklahoma City, OK, and the pilot's name is Ron McKinney. His wife, Brenda, is the co-owner of the balloon. The guy on the right (in the white shirt) is Walt Pursell, owner of Walt's Auto Shop on 10th St., Topeka.  He has been the sponsor for the Sunny D for the last couple of years. I've crewed for these folks six years in a row at Huff 'n Puff.
All photos © 2007 by Carol Yoho
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