I really debated on writing this blog post because it wasn’t the best experience. I really didn’t want to write about something negative. After a barbecue with friends though, they thought it was important I share my experience since I’ve chosen to share events that I attend in Idaho with the public. The Night Glow Spirit of Boise Hot Air Balloon Festival actually goes on for a few days. On Friday night though it kicks off the weekend with what is promised to be an “epic nighttime glow”. I actually hadn’t planned on attending. This was one of those events in my Facebook feed, I haphazardly marked GOING. A few hours before Facebook casually asked me to check in from the event. I didn’t have anything else planned for the night so I thought, why not?
If you aren’t one for crowds then this is not the event for you. I mistakenly asked my husband to go, who is not fond of crowds at all. It’s not his favorite thing to be squished into an area with strangers stepping through whatever place you chose to plop down. As soon as we got off the freeway I cringed a little when I could see people parking at least a mile away from where I knew the park entrance was and walking. We had not come prepared. Loads of families were walking with wagons, coolers, chairs, and children being carried or running desperately trying to keep up with their parents. I parked anyways and ignored the tension I could already feel about the walk we were getting ready to endure. There were thousands of people there. Thousands.
Don’t Go Hungry
The kids and I had eaten earlier but my husband, who was at a friends, had not eaten. I assured him there would be food trucks there. There were food trucks. And after a two and a half hour wait my husband had a plate of tacos and a burrito and a coke. He was not happy. I don’t blame him. Every food truck line was the same. Miles long. Lines for the bathroom were even longer. Thank goodness Hawk was the only one that had to go. A little trip down to the river and behind a tree solved that problem. We would have been better off bringing a cooler and some food from home to sit and eat.
So, That’s It
After toughing it out and committing to walking to the event the kids were excited now, we anxiously awaited for it to get dark. Around 8:15 p.m. the sky was dark enough.I’m not sure what I expected, but soon, the balloons were all blown up and tethered in a field in front of us. My expectations were that the sky was going to be lit up, or at least they would float them 20-30 feet above ground. No. They just stayed tethered on the ground.
I admit, I know nothing about flying a hot air balloon. Maybe they can’t fly at night..maybe they can’t even leave the ground. However, I just expected a bit more than what we saw. The announcer counted down 3-2-1 and the balloons lit up all at once. The first time was impressive, but after the fifth time or so, my five year old didn’t even care to get out of his seat to see what was happening. The same reaction came when the balloons lit up synchronized with a song. The first time was neat. The third time, not so much. Same song, same lights.
By 9:00 the event was done. Wait, what…all that for 45 minutes of the same song, and the same count down.
Negative Nelly Here Again
I really think this could have been a more enjoyable event for me. With a little bit of preparation, even with the lack of oooh and aaah for myself, I would have enjoyed just being with my kids out on a Friday night. As mentioned, I didn’t want to write this because I knew it would come from a negative tone. However, if you want to see what it’s all about next year then follow these steps to be prepared.
- Go early
- Pack a cooler
- Bring a wagon with blankets and chairs
- Use the bathroom before you leave the house.
- Try not to use the bathroom there.
- Expect the main event to be short and sweet.
- Sit around for awhile after so the crowd thins out.
- Expect to sit in traffic when you do decide to leave.
Notes For Next Time
If you can handle this kind of event where the crowds are still thick an hour after the event is over, then it’s totally for you. If you can’t, stay home and check out your friends photos on Facebook. I won’t be going next year, but maybe I’ll encourage my teens to go just to find something to do on a Friday night. Idaho is notorious for family events and this was a huge one based on the number of people there. I just didn’t think it was worth the crowds, the lines, and the hassle. Maybe next year, we will check the balloons out on Kids Day. My husband knew I felt bad for making him go through all of that. He ended up having a good sense of humor about it and was happy to just be with the kids and I on a Friday night.
If you had a different experience, comment below. I’d love to hear how you handled it!
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