28th Annual Michigan Challenge Balloonfest in Howell

I was not aware of Michigan Challenge Balloonfest until I started doing business in Livingston County.  When I was asked to volunteer at the event by the Howell Chamber of Commerce, I was more than happy to accept.  I am sure glad I volunteered.  My family and I had a blast!

This year at Howell Balloonfest I helped getting the Art Festival set up on Friday morning.  Naomi and the kids came with me.  I thought they could help volunteer.  Plus it will be fun to spend time with each other.   At least that was my initial thinking.  Putting this to action was a different story.  As soon as we got there, it was almost noon and the kids were hungry.  So Naomi took the kids to get something to eat while I stayed around to help with the Art Festival.  Strangely, they did not return until the Art Festival was all set up.

The individual Art Festival booths were unique and intriguing.  Of course some booths were better than others.  It was amazing to watch some vendors spend hours setting up their booths while it took other vendors less than an hour.  But you would not know it once the vendor booths are completely set up.  Overall, I enjoyed my time volunteering at the Art Festival.  I enjoyed learning the history of Balloonfest from other volunteers the most.  I learned that Balloonfest started 28 years ago with six balloons, some lawn chairs, and a barbeque grill.  Also, I learned about no fly zones due to residents that hate Balloonfest.  How can anybody hate balloon fest??  I guess it is not for everybody.

Once Balloonfest started and I was no longer needed at the Art Festival.  Naomi, Aleyna, Joey, and I went the carnival.  Aleyna and Joey went on just about every ride.  However, they could not ride on the Ferris Wheel or 50 ft high swing.  Naomi was too nervous on the safety of those rides.  To be honest, I was too.  The kids had a blast anyways on all the other rides.

Later in the evening the balloons were set to take off.   It was a little too windy this day.  So only a few of the balloons end up taking off.  Even though it was just a few balloons, it was amazing to see the balloons inflate up close.   I have seen hot air balloons in the air but watching the process of inflating the balloon was just as amazing.  Overall, we enjoyed the day, although the next day was more spectacular.

On Saturday, we decided to head to balloon fest later in the afternoon.  We got there just before the hot air balloons were set up.  The weather was perfect so all teams participating in the event were set to take off.   Unlike the previous day, there were about 40 balloons set to take off.  It was amazing to watch the set up of all balloons at nearly the same time.  We were so close that you could literally feel the heat of the burners.








It was a joy watching all the balloons take off.








Later in the evening, all the teams came back for Balloon Glow.  As darkness falls, all the balloons were set up again.  This time the balloons were not taking off.  Instead, all the teams turned on their burners at the same time several times in a 30 minute period.  It was an awesome site.  The pictures simply did not do this justice.








Our family had so much fun at Michigan Challenge Balloonfest in Howell.  We hope to return next year and for years to come.