Huff’n Puff Hot Air Balloon Rally

Sunday morning at sunrise, Harland and I waited at the edge of Lake Shawnee in Topeka for the balloons to launch.

The balloon rally, started in 1976, today attracts about 10,000 people annually.

Did you know that the hot air balloon is the oldest human carrying aircraft?

In 1782, two Frenchmen took the first hot air balloon flight. A hot air balloon can fly because the heated air inside the balloon is a lower density than the air outside the balloon, and this creates buoyancy.

The very first hot air balloons were small unmanned “air lanterns” used for military signaling by the Chinese in 80 AD.

Harland and I have been to the rally in Topeka several times.

A couple times the balloons did not launch because there was too much wind.

But this year, the breeze was just right.

And all the balloons lifted off without a hitch. They usually only fly as far as the airport north of Topeka, but one year Harland tells me they flew north all the way to our summer pasture where the cows were enjoying their summer vacations. They were spooked by the large colorful objects overhead, and ran in all directions.

Hopefully, they didn’t go over the pasture on Sunday. Cows like to be left in peace when on vacation.

For more information about the Huff’n Puff Balloon Rally, click here.


——->  Up Next: Come along with me to Old Albany Days where you’ll see old time demonstrations like making fresh apple cider on a cider press, shelling corn by hand, watching a blacksmith at work, and much more.


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Cattle, corn, wheat, beans, mud, snow, ice, and drought. Plenty of fresh air and quiet. Our life is sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes joyous, but never boring.

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24 Responses

  1. Beautiful balloons!! Riding in a hot air balloon is actually on my bucket list. I have wanted to since I was a child. I will definately do it one of these days! Great post Suzanne!

    • Suzanne says:

      Hi Bonnie,
      Thank you! I’ve never been in a balloon either, but I’m afraid of heights, so it may not be a good idea.

  2. Julie says:

    I’ve also always wanted to go in a hot air balloon. Love the name of the rally!

  3. Evelyn K says:

    Riding in a hot air balloon is also on my bucket list; however, I suffer the motion sickness/heights problem and may never see the event come to pass. I so enjoy seeing the balloons and the western themed one you showed was right up my alley! Thanks for the beautiful pictures. Every year the Weather Channel shows pictures of the event in New Mexico and I have my face stuck to the tv screen; LOL

    • Suzanne says:

      Hi Evelyn,
      I would love to go to the balloon event in New Mexico. We were talking to a lady at the Topeka balloon rally that had been to that one, and now we so want to go.

  4. Holly says:

    Hot air balloons are so fun. I’ve never been up in one (I’m afraid of heights too) but I’ve been around them quite a bit. My husband crews for them every now and again. There’s a big gathering this weekend and I’m looking forward to the balloon glow as I’ve never seen that part of it before.

  5. Lee Ann L. says:

    Hot Air Balloons are cool. However, you won’t catch me riding one though. The thought of being up there in the air… Nope. It’s the same for me with helicopters and planes. In fact, I don’t even like to be in tall skyscrapers and the like. I guess I’m missing out; but, I rather miss out than suffer a panic attack. LOL. 😀

  6. Shailaja says:

    It should be so thrilling to be in a hot air balloon. Hearing about your cows running helter skelter in the summer pasture, I wonder how the wild animals in Africa must be reacting to the hot air balloon safaris!

    • Suzanne says:

      Hi Shailaja,
      I might have to make an exception if I got the chance to do a balloon safari. Fear of heights be damned, I’d love to go on safari.

  7. Sally Bishop says:

    What a wonderful picture the balloons make against a blue sky! I’d like to take a ride someday, the view has to be spectacular.

  8. Doe of Mi. says:

    That is so neat, I’ve always wanted to go see one of these
    rallies and have not got there. I love the poke-a-dot one.
    Had a balloon go over my house once and it was so low it
    made my cat duck down. LOL

  9. Love the picture of the Polka Dot balloon! So very pretty!

    As always, love your photos,


  10. Holly says:

    I saw many of the same balloons in Overland Park tonight. My husband is crewing for the striped balloon in your second and third picture. Fun! I think the polka dot one is my favorite though. 🙂

    • Suzanne says:

      Hi Holly,
      I watched a few years ago and the balloons were prepared for launching and was able to walk around between the crews as they were working. Really neat experience.

  11. Teresa says:

    Your posts always have such great information-I swear you are a walking encyclopedia–but the photos are truly spectacular! These are just wonderful!

  12. Jason says:

    Wonderful pictures. The 1st and 8th one in the series is my balloon. Always nice to see pictures of when I fly. 🙂

    • Suzanne says:

      Hi Jason,
      I thought yours was one of the prettiest balloons. I always like the colorful ones. Thanks for stopping by!

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