What is a "Balloon Glow" ?

We're glad you asked ! These are great fun and often take place when several hot air balloons and their crews get together, such as at hot air balloon festivals, or other outdoor events.

The easiest way to describe a "Balloon Glow" in words is to ask you to think of each hot air balloon as a huge light-bulb ("light bulbs" are more correctly called "lamps", by the way). Now think of the envelope of each hot air balloon (that is the thin fabric of the balloon that holds all the air) as the glass part of the light-bulb, and the burner inside the hot air balloon as the filament of the light-bulb. When the filament of a light bulb is "on"/illuminated then the whole unit glows, the shape of the glow taking on the overall shape of the light-bulb, as defined by the outer glass. A similar effect can be seen with hot air balloons.

To do this the crew start by setting-up the hot-air-balloon in the usual way and get as far as using the burner to heat the air inside the envelope and fully inflate the hot air balloon in an upright position. That much is standard.

Back to our light-bulb analogy for a moment, remember that switching a light-bulb on in a brightly-lit room during daylight hours has very little effect. But switching on the same light when the area is otherwise dark makes a great difference. (Of course generally the idea is not to see the light-bulb itself, but to see the room and everything in it - so standard light-bulbs don't have colours, patterns and logos on them !)

Getting the idea now ? Obviously "Balloon Glows" take place in the dark or semi-dark during early mornings or late evenings. They look great because each balloon is being used as a HUGE (in many cases) multi-coloured and patterned lamp, but it gets even better ....

Because "Balloon Glows" tend to take place when there are many Hot Air Balloons together in one place, the effect is very often a complete "Light and Sound" Festival. The Hot Air Balloon operators communicate with the co-ordinators of the event via radios and light-up their balloons in synchronisation with each other, often also to music.

This is just one of the reasons to go to one of the big Hot Air Balloon Festivals if you possibly can. They are not just about seeing lots of different shapes and sizes of hot air balloons, but they also make possible co-ordinated activities that require many different hot air balloons. [See Photos of Balloon Glows]


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Can I fly from all these places ? : What is a "Balloon Glow" : Ballooning in USA : Terms