Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Outdoor February Fun

Our biggest event for February was the Hot Air Affair held in Hudson, WI. It's the second year we've gone and although we're not really hot air balloon enthusiasts, we really enjoy it!
The fun starts with a fiery parade on Friday night. The balloonists (is that what they're called??) glide down the street, showing off their baskets and fire blowers (I'm sure that's their technical term in the hot air balloon community).
For the girls, this normally means sitting on someone's shoulders (Claire on Grandpa Rich's shoulders, above) and staring in wonderment (Abby, below).
The girls also got to swim in the pool at the hotel Grandma Gwen and Grandpa Rich were staying in, and spend the night there Friday night. Swimming is quite possibly their favorite thing in the world so the girls were in heaven.
On Saturday, we all met up again to cheer on Grandpa Rich as he ran a 5K. Then we headed to the balloon launch that afternoon. This again meant more time on shoulders for Claire (above on Mama's shoulders) and Abby (below with Daddy).
Because it was a pretty cloudy day, the balloons weren't able to launch but they did blow them up. It was pretty cool watching these huge balloons come to life. It's quite the process and takes a lot of people to help control the balloon.
There was also a snowy playground to play on, an arts and crafts fair to check out (inside, thank goodness) and lots of fair type food to be eaten. That night was one of my favorite parts of the event, the Moonglow. It's where the balloons all get blown up on the field and float into the air all lit up. Both years we've gone, it's been too poor conditions for them to go up, but the balloons stay on the field and light up for what turns out to be a pretty cool sight. It's also pretty fun to run around on the field between all these huge glowing orbs.
By this point, the girls were beyond tired and getting crabby so we decided to just to a slow drive by of the field. The above picture was taken through the car window so it doesn't quite give it justice, but you get the general idea. You can kind of see the orange and white balloon (second from left) which is actually shaped like Nemo. That was of course the girls' favorite one!
We'd had so much fun in Hudson that the next weekend we decided to get out and try more outdoor events. (I mean, what's more fun in MN that hanging outside in the snow for hours on end in the middle of February?) We headed to the Lake Hiawatha Heartwarmer in Minneapolis and luckily it was so fun we forgot about the cold.
There was a dj playing music by the skating pond, a bonfire, free hot dogs, cookies and cider, another snowy playground, a snowman building contest and free horse drawn hay rides (Abby, below, having a blast on the hay ride)! It was a great Saturday afternoon.
Hope you're also out enjoying the rest of our snowy wonderland! Spring will be here before we know it.