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Forest Park Balloon Race

Sunday, September 19th, 2010

Hot Air Balloon in Forest Park, St. Louis

The title for this post is a bit of a misnomer, since I didn’t stay for the balloon race. I was there, however, to see all of the balloons inflated and on Central Field in Forest Park – an exhilarating scene, all the same.

This is one of my favorite photos, showing one of the hot air balloons, fully inflated.  You can see a large apartment/condominium complex in the background, with the trees of Forest Park in between. This photo ties all three components together, establishing scale and location.  The red, white, and blue of the balloon provides great color against the green foliage and the pastel building.

Girls at a Hot Air Balloon Festival

Another of my favorites is this picture of two young girls, examining one of the transport trailers that has been brightly painted with a hot air balloon scene.

Again, the colors are bright and draw the viewer into the scene. It is not at all immediately obvious that this is the side of a trailer. As you look at photo more closely, you start to notice the tail light of the trailer, and the wheel well between the girls.

The Forest Park Balloon Race is an annual event, with 70 balloons competing in a race against an Energizer Bunny hot air balloon.  The bunny takes off first, and the chase balloons are challenged to drop a bean bag closest to where the bunny lands.

To see more balloons, including some photos capturing the propane flames that provide the inflation for the balloons, click here.

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Forest Park

Sunday, September 19th, 2010

Butterfly on Lilac

Yesterday I went with a friend to Forest Park in St. Louis to meet a couple of friends who had driven down from Milwaukee to take in a couple of St. Louis Cardinal games. The reason to go to Forest Park was to see the annual Forest Park Balloon Race.

Unfortunately, my timing was a bit off, and we were there well before any of the balloon festivities began. So this provided an opportunity to explore a bit of Forest Park, and to look for photo opportunities in the park. Forest Park was established in 1874, located 2 miles west of the city of St. Louis, which required a 40-minute carriage ride for residents located in the city center.

The park was over 1,300 acres in size, mostly comprised of virgin forest land (hence the name of Forest Park). And the park retains much of its natural setting, as seen in this picture of a lilac flower to the right.

The World’s Fair in 1904 contributed a number of new facilities located within the park, including the World’s Fair Pavilion overlooking one of the numerous man-made lakes in the park.

Outside the Muny

In 1919, the city founded an municipal opera house in the park, establishing what is now known as the Muny. This man-made pond sits across from the main building, along a circular drive – providing some of the beauty and majesty that is everywhere within the park.

With plenty of time before the balloon festivities began, we took a leisurely walk around the park. Click here to see more pictures of Forest Park.

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