Forest Park Balloon Race

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Would you like to ride in my beautiful balloon
Would you like to ride in my beautiful balloon
We could float among the stars together, you and I
For we can fly we can fly
Up, up and away
My beautiful, my beautiful balloon

The preceding lyrics were written by the 5th Dimension.  We saw them perform once at the Grand Basin in the Park.  several members of the 5th Dimension came from Saint Louis.  They have a star on the Saint Louis walk of fame.

Anne and I biked over to the Park to watch this year’s balloon race.  It was hot, but the skies were clear and more importantly the winds were light.  We got there early enough to enjoy some apple, cheese and crackers.  We finished all those, but there was still no sign of any balloons.  We hadn’t ventured up to the central ball fields where the balloon launch was to occur, so the guy on the public-address system sounded like one of Charlie Brown’s teachers, “Wah-wah-Wah-wah”.  Not knowing what was really going on we just waited.  Eventually, the Energizer Bunny balloon rose above the tree line.  The balloon race was on.

The Forest Park Balloon Race is the hare versus the hounds’ variation.  In this race the hare, the Energizer Bunny, takes off first and then the hounds, all the rest of the balloons give chase.  Once the hare lands, each hound balloon drops their marker as close to the hare as they can.  The closest marker wins.  The hare balloon is not really a contestant.

With the hare in the air and the hounds starting to rise, it soon became apparent that we had camped in the wrong position to view the balloon race.  So we hopped on our bikes and repositioned to the soccer fields near the tennis courts.  The bunny balloon was already coming in for a landing, so it seemed like a good place to observe the race from.  As it turns out it was an excellent place.  Most of the balloons landed within a hundred yards of us. 

It got pretty hectic there for a while, with balloons and more importantly gondolas falling out of the sky, but I got some great shots.  Anne helped to secure the Featherlight II out of Chicago.  The story that I got was that winds were too light and variable, so the balloonist cut short the race and most never left the Park.  In all of the confusion, Anne and I lost track of each other, but we both made it back home safe and sound.

On Saturday morning, Anne and I went to REI and Whole Foods.  In REI we had some fun with the kid’s bike helmets.  Anne wanted me to say that she was only modeling this helmet and never had any intension of buying it.  In Whole Foods I bought a six-pack of bell’s Third Coast Beer.  I must admit that I was swayed by the map of Lake Superior on the label.  With bi-coastal sons, I needed my own coast, otherwise I’d be stuck in fly-over land.

Mobius strips the floors, while Klein bottles the ketchup at the All-Night Topology Diner, where “the only thing as good as our doughnuts are our never-ending coffee cups!”  The preceding little ditty was created by Anne as she was conceiving what may someday become a future beading project of hers.  She has already created a beaded Mobius strip and dreams of one day creating a beaded Klein bottle, but for the present this is more of a conceptual art work then a physical beaded one.  Considering the art’s subject matter, this seems somehow more fitting.

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