By Jasmine Willis
GENESEO - Over the holiday weekend many were disheartened by the cancellation of several events to honor the birth of our nation.
On July 5 the National Warplane Museum in Geneseo held its own Hot-Air Balloon Drive-In Glow surrounded by our nations warplanes.
There were nine hot air balloons arriving in the field to put on a show for those eagerly awaiting. They were from Balloons Over Letchworth. This year has been hard on the hot air balloon pilots. Normally they would have several events to cover. There would be thousands of people gathered to watch them soar. Hundreds waiting for a chance to ride them all weekend long.
This year we all got hit with Covid 19. That has canceled all of our festivals and events. Many have been largely effected by the virus.
The Dansville Balloon Festival had to cancel this year for the first time in nearly 40 years. The Wellsville Balloon Rally had to cancel this year.
We thought that there would be no hot air balloons soaring through our valleys this year. However, on occasion I’ve seen one in the sky on my drive from North Cohocton to Dansville. It has lifted my spirits to see that colorful giant balloon in the sky. Even if none of us can be lifted away from all the hassles of the last few months.
To be honest I was just as heartbroken about the idea of not having a balloon festival this year. I have covered it for four years straight. Yet when I heard that there would be a balloon glow at the museum my heart was filled with joy.
The National Warplane Museum had us all drive into the field. We had to social distance and wear a mask if we walked around. There were signs posted that we had to stay a certain distance away from the balloons. This meant I had to get whatever photos I could, and from a distance.
There was one balloon doing tethered rides by the Whiskey 7. I noticed a very long line for that enjoyment when I was walking around taking photos of the warplanes.
Sometime around 8:30 pm the hot air balloons all lifted to the sky. They sent the torches up to light the way. We all were able to have our balloon glow. Some of them lifted a little off the ground. Some of them stayed grounded.
They all did their part to make us feel better. We felt a little less alone. We were glad that not everything had been taken away from us this summer. Glad that a handful of hot air balloon pilots were willing to make us all smile in a field.
The National Warplane Museum had done this a few weeks before and gotten hundreds of people. There was a good crowd there on our Independence Day weekend too. It was a good way to honor the birth of our nation. By remembering those who fought for it with the warplanes. By seeing that balloon glow light up the sky.