We planned to go to BJ’s Wholesale Club yesterday afternoon. I had other thoughts, though, after receiving a NY State Park newsletter via email. On the front page of the newsletter was information about the 15th annual Red, White and Blue Balloon Rally at Letchworth State Park. The first balloon launch was planned for 6:00 pm.
Bob came home from work at noon. I told him about the balloon rally at Letchworth State Park. I asked if he wanted to go to BJ’s, as planned, or BJ’s and Letchworth State Park, or just Letchworth State Park. By 12:30 pm we were on our way to Letchworth State Park.
Shortly before 2:00 pm we stopped for lunch at Subway in Franklinville, NY. We arrived at Letchworth State Park, via the Castile entrance, around 3:00 pm. There was no fee to enter the park. According to the park’s website, a daily vehicle entrance fee of $10.00 began today. The entrance fee will be collected between the hours of 9:00 am and 5:00 pm and will be collected through October 16, 2017. We passed by Archery Field, the location for the balloon launch. We visited Upper Falls, Middle Falls, and Inspiration Point.
view from Glen Iris Inn grounds
view of Upper and Middle Falls
We returned to Archery Field at 4:00 pm. There was ample parking alongside Archery Field, owing to the fact that we arrived early. We had a 2-hour wait until launch time.
We didn’t think through our spur-of-the-moment drive to Letchworth State Park. We didn’t bring water; we didn’t bring chairs (although we did claim a picnic table at Archery Field); and we didn’t bring reading material. We DID have AT&T LTE service, so Internet WAS available. I discovered that there is supposed to be a concession stand at Archery Field, during the balloon launch. Two men, park personnel I believe, had the concession tent in their truck. At 5:15 pm they were still waiting for the concessions and the individuals who would be manning the concession stand. The concession stand did not materialize during yesterday evening’s balloon launch.
At 6:00 pm there was no activity visible that a balloon launch was imminent. At 6:30 pm hot air balloons began to be pulled out; burners were tested; and balloons began to be filled with air. At 7:00 pm the first hot air balloon was launched, followed by many more balloons. I photographed the balloons from Archery Field, as well as from the Archery Field gorge overlook.
We departed Letchworth StatePark around 8:00 pm, after the last balloon had left Archery Field. We returned home around 10:45 pm.
This was the first time Bob and I attended the Red, White and Blue Balloon Rally. I am so happy that we drove to Letchworth State Park to attend the rally. The hot air balloon launch was a spectacular event!