The Would Be 20th Annual Letchworth Red, White & Blue Balloon Festival, 2020

May 23, 2020  •  Leave a Comment

Since 2013, the Memorial Day weekend meant only one thing for me and my family. It meant getting up around 4:30 a.m. to make the 60-minute drive to Letchworth State Park and catch a beautiful sunrise right around 5:45. It meant moving on to the Archery Field and anxiously awaiting the decision. Then, given the cooperation from weather, we would watch one of the most colorful events possible.

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This year would have marked the 20th anniversary of the Red, White, and Blue Balloon Festival in the park. Unfortunately, given this year's events, it is marking the first in twenty years that the festival is not happening. Let's take a look at a few photos and get excited about 2021. I hope it will be a go then!

Annual Red, White & Blue Balloon Rally, Memorial Day Weekend, Letchworth State Park, Western New York. Hot Air Balloon over Great Bend.Annual Red, White, And BlueBalloon Festival, Letchworth State Park

One of the beautiful things about this ballooning event is that as soon as the hot air balloons take off from the Archery Field and clear the road and alley of trees they dip right into the Genesee River gorge. Some of them go low enough to dip in the water or to land on the river banks. Others hover up and down for a bit. Then, it's time to rise and let the wind blow them over and towards their yet-to-be determined landing spot.

Fogy Sunrise Magic over Letchworth GorgeFogy Magic over Letchworth GorgeSunrise

We never packed it there. Instead, we'd head out of the park's southern gate and follow the balloons to see them land. The crews were very nice, let us watch, would talk to us about their hobby, and would even incorporate us into their packing.

Bright and Happy Abstract Colors of Hot Air Balloons, Letchworth State ParkAnnual Red, White, and BlueBalloon Festival, Letchworth State Park

And then? Usually around 9 a.m., it was over and it was time to drive back home for a quick rest, some lunch, and possibly light activity. After the early wake up call, the days did not usually turn out to be productive.
Genesee River Great Bend at Sunrise, Letchworth State Park, New York State (NY).Genesee River Great Bend of LetchworthSunrise

Come about 4:30 p.m., it was time to repeat it all over for the second launch of the day, this time at the day's end. Huge advantage of the 2 launches a day is the very different light in the morning and in the evening. Looking and capturing photographs against the rising sun in the morning versus having the sun in one's back in the evening.

Annual Red, White & Blue Balloon Rally Festival, Letchworth State Park, Castile, NYSky Riders at Red, White & Blue Balloon RallyBalloon Festival, Letchworth State Park

Do you see that wonderful fog filling the gorge and hovering above the river? It's always a wonderful sight but especially during the ballooning weekends. Beautiful white fog combined with colorful balloons and morning light create quite the sight!

Daybreak at Big Bend of Letchworth, Letchworth State Park, Castile, New York (NY)Daybreak at Big Bend of LetchworthCloudy Sunrise Balloon Crowd at the Gorge at the annual Red, White, and Blue Hot Air Balloon Festival in Letchworth State Park, 2018Balloon Crowd at the GorgeBalloon Festival, Letchworth State Park Fred B Rabbit at the annual Red, White, and Blue Hot Air Balloon Festival in Letchworth State Park, 2018Fred B Rabbit over LetchworthBalloon Festival, Letchworth State Park

Colorful Balloon AbstractColorful Balloon Abstract

Enjoy the beauty that surrounds you! (#etbtsy)

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