The Balloon Festival is Provo, Utah is an event that involves three days worth of competition by over 25 hot air balloons.
The pilots participate in several games, including Hare and Hound, in which the competitors try to drop bean bags onto a target that the “hare” balloon lays out.
The balloons are laid out on Bulldog field near the BYU campus in Provo. Children and families can walk around on the field with the hot air balloon envelopes (the part that inflates) before and while they are inflated. This gives spectators an opportunity to see the balloons and equipment up close.
The hot air balloon pictured above is always the lead (hare) balloon of the Freedom Festival. The majority of the committee members for the Balloon Festival have been working together since the first festival 27 years ago.
The balloons can remain in the air for about 2-3 hours on the propane they take up with them before they have to land.
The pilots rely on the air currents to pilot their hot air balloons. They use their propane to heat up the balloon and raise in the air, or they allow the balloon to cool and lower to catch a different air current. As the sun rises, the air currents shift dramatically, making the early morning launch a challenging but beautiful time of day for the pilots.
The Coca-Cola hot air balloon is 154 feet tall from basket to bottle cap, and is the tallest balloon in operation on the planet. This balloon is piloted by Scott and Laurie Spencer of Boise, Idaho.
See more photos from the Balloon Fest here.