Thursday, June 12, 2008

What's that in the sky?

It is time again for one of the most interesting Monroe area traditions - the annual hot air balloon rally. The four day event runs from June 12 through June 15 this year.

Twice a day, weather permitting, the majestic hot air balloons float through the sky on their way towards the fairgrounds. They seems to brush the tops of the trees and houses as they are steered towards the landing targets. Those of us on the ground can sit on our porches, watch for our favorites and listen to the whoosh of the torches. Up to ten balloons will launch at 6 am and 6 pm on Thursday and Friday. Eleven more will come for the weekend, filling our skies with up to 21 balloons. On Friday and Saturday at dusk, the fairground fields will fill with tethered balloons for the traditional balloon glow. It is a beautiful sight.

Area events coordinate with the balloon rally as well. Friday night is the annual Pork Producers dinner at the the fairgrounds.

Saturday is the Taste of Monroe, car show and craft fair on the Square, along with the weekly farmer's market. (Oh do stop by the farmer's market! The romaine lettuce last week was amazing!) Some of the balloon pilots are usually present on the square with their baskets and torches. Children and adults alike enjoy meeting the pilots and talking with them about the balloons, trying out the baskets and seeing the torches go off up close. At 10 am, the Genealogy Society will have a cemetery walk to explore Monroe's history.

Sunday morning brings a pancake breakfast sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce along with the craft fair at the fairgrounds.

The balloon rally to us means summer is truly here at last. Fireflies dance, balloons bob on the breeze and torches flare as we visit with friends and neighbors. Come out and enjoy summer.

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