Friday, August 16, 2013

Webby's Balloon Ride

Webby here!

Summer provides many exciting opportunities for people (and ducks) of all ages.  For example, the Vermont Balloon and Craft Festival visited Shelburne on July 26-28.  With hot air balloon rides, arts and crafts vendors, lots of yummy food, and a balloon glow, I was busy all weekend long.  On Friday, July 26,  I had the opportunity to go up in a tethered hot air balloon at the Vermont Teddy Bear Company! 

At first I was a little skeptical about going up in a hot air balloon (I never  trust anything but my own two wings to keep me in the air.)  I mean, how does a hot air balloon work, anyway?  I found out that hot air balloons are made up of three parts.  The place where the people ride is called the basket.  The big balloon-like fabric that lifts the basket is called the balloon envelope.  And the burner heats the air in the envelope to make the balloon rise!  First, the balloon’s pilot uses a fan to fill the envelope with cold air.  Once the fan starts blowing, the balloon envelope fills up fast!

Woah!  That balloon is huge!  Did you know that most balloons are between 60 and 80 feet tall?  Once that huge balloon is full of air and the passengers are in the basket, the pilot uses a burner to heat the air in the envelope.  The flame coming from the burner makes the air in the envelope hotter than the air in the sky around it which makes the balloon rise into the sky!
Wait for me!  I want to come!
My friend Leah said told me I could ride with her!  Thanks, Leah!
Hold on tight.  Here we go!
For a tethered ride, the balloon is tied down so it only goes about 40 feet in the air (which is still pretty high!)  Did you know that a balloon that isn’t tied down to the ground can rise up to 12,500 feet in the air?  To imagine how high that is, think about the fact that Vermont’s tallest mountain (Mount Mansfield) is 4,393 feet tall.  A hot air balloon can rise almost as high as 3 mountains stacked on top of each other!
As the balloon rises higher and higher, the people look smaller and smaller!

This balloon reminds me of a recent event at the Shelburne Museum on July 21--Circus Palooza!  I saw a lot of kids with faces painted like clowns.  Maybe I will see people dressed as clowns again at the Museum for Haunted Happenings on October 27!
I enjoyed my first tethered hot air balloon ride this summer, but I am looking forward to keeping my feet on the ground for upcoming family days at the museum.  If you missed any fun activities this summer, be sure to join me on September 8 when Shelburne Museum Goes to the Dogs!

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