The Hot Air Balloon Festival

I'm a little obsessed with hot air balloons...riding in one is one of the last items on my bucket list I haven't crossed off. I have a magic memory of being 3 and going to the hot air balloon festival in Anderson, SC, riding in the rear-facing trunk seats of our family's station wagon on a sticky summer afternoon. I remember the hand-made marionettes and pop-cork guns that were for sale, being told not to eat the Cheez-Its out of Granddaddy's ash tray, the way the wind billowed the balloons as they inflated, and of course, the evening sky harvesting giant glowing orbs. It seemed to make the moon very happy, I thought. So now, this experience for my children is always special to me, to see balloons again, fresh and new and gigantic and other-worldly. We went to the annual hot air balloon festival in Lewiston-Augusta, Maine. It was more crowded than the year before, so the children needed some space. Off to the side of the festival's walking loop lined with vendors of crafts and food, there was a green space by the water they felt attracted to, so we followed them.

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