This weekend was a feast for the eyes, even if they were very tired eyes. Both Saturday and Sunday mornings the family got up at 4:00am (yes, you read that right!) and headed off to a local park in Windsor where the 20th Annual Sonoma County Hot Air Balloon Classic was scheduled to start at 5:00am. We arrived when it was still dark and traipsed across the wet lawn to a spot where we could witness the inflation and launch of thirty hot air balloons. Our good friend, Cynthia, from whom we'd won the tickets in a contest on her blog, met us at the event a few minutes later bearing lattes (bless her!!) Luckily my daughter, Kristina, thought to bring large beach towels so we all hunkered down to await the spectacle. We were lucky. Saturday was a perfect day for a launch (unlike Sunday when the fog was too low and all we got to see was the inflation of the balloons.) The first three balloons to inflate were called the "Dawn Patrol" as they set up in the dark. Local DJs chatted up the crowd on the loadspeaker system and played wonderful music.
We wait in the dark while the vendors sell coffee, breakfast, champagne and souvenirs.
Here are some of the images from both days.
On Saturday afternoon, after coming home from the balloon launch and taking a nap, the family headed to San Rafael for the Italian Street Art Festival put on as a benefit for Youth in Arts, an organization that tries to provide funds to keep art in the local schools. Some of the artists' work was truly spectacular. I am always amazed that there are people who travel the world in order to participate in these festivals. As a pastel artist myself I have the utmost respect for what they accomplish in a short amount of time working directly on asphalt. My niece was a participant and it was a lot of fun to see her work. I have a difficult time imagining spending that much time and energy on a work of art that is so transitory. True, photos are taken of the work but the originals have a very short shelf life. I'm told that after the festival the streets are hosed down and the gutters run with color.
This was my favorite—
With a close up of it—
Others I liked—
Even the kids got in on the act.
Here is my niece and her friend. They were hot, sweaty, covered in pastel dust and looking pretty happy.