Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Florida Wine Fest 2013--Wine and Balloons and More!

Sarasota, FL        High:  83     Low:  65

Back to Lakeland Ranch for Florida's Wine Fest and auction this evening after a morning's disappointment at the balloon launch being cancelled due to unfavorable and unsafe wind conditions. Wowee! It was a great evening with great entertainment, one of the bands being a country/western band called Gamble Creek.  There was a separate wine tasting dinner that was over 100 dollars, and that was just a little out of our budget comfort zone. The tent looked cool that housed the wine tasting and dinner from gourmet chefs.
We did sample some terrific ice cream at one of the food trucks...It was the best soft serve we've had in a long time. Love those "twist" cones!

Our general admission ticket of 15.00 was well worth it, as this event benefits at least eleven children's charities....We simply wanted to see the launch or the balloon glow, and that's what we got to see.....

It was held at Lakeland Ranch's Sports Complex, a HUGE facility and the perfect place provided the Wine Fest by the 9th largest master planned community in the country, Lakeland Ranch. Although the number of balloons there was much smaller than they had planned, about eight instead of 20, we got to see the crews up close and very personal, working very hard to get the balloons up in challenging conditions, a changing wind pattern. Later in the evening, people in attendance helped hold the baskets in place by standing in them as the balloons did burst glows, "wave" glows, and other types of fire glows.
Families came out by the bunch to watch and eat and run and play all over the grounds....

Sparky found out that the "collar" under the main balloon, like the white part in the Remax balloon, is made from Nomex, a specialty fabric that is fire retardant among other properties. There is always the danger that when they shoot the flame into the balloon to heat it, that the sidewalls will catch on fire if the walls collapse suddenly, or the wind changes rapidly.
A couple of balloons attempted to inflate, but had to quit for awhile and wait for the wind to die down. However, the crew in the BB & T balloon, from Sparky's college town of Bloomington, IN, was the first to get their balloon up and held in place. Way to go, folks!  Did you know BB & T stands for the "Best Bank in Town"? Yep, it really does, and it's not Sparky's bank so no paid endorsement there. :-)
There were some cool balloons that were non-commercial.....On the other side of Mr. Smiley, was an elephant balloon.....
There was a Constitution balloon, with beautiful red and white stripes and blue, that had the full Constitution of the United States written on its side. Cool! And the wind finally died down and when they all lit up, it was wonderful! Sparky was only able to get four at a time, there were four on the other side......

It was a wonderful end to another wonderful day here in beautiful Sarasota........


  1. I just love hot air balloons. Even been up in one once :) Would really love to go to a balloon glow again!

  2. Love the pics of the hot air balloons. I guess your adventures in Sarasota will be winding down.

  3. Excellent pictures today, thanks for sharing.

  4. Love seeing hot air balloons. There Is just something so cool about them although they are really LOUD. I keep wanting to go to the Albuquerque balloon festival but there are SO many people and I'm pretty allergic to crowds that size. Looks like you had another great day.

  5. Just fabulous. . .I'll hafta google that balloon with the Constitution written on it. . .sounds magnificent!

    Sounds like a great time was had by all. . .

    ReadyToGoFullTimeRVing Blog

  6. If you ever get a chance, attend the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta. We volunteered there for 14 days. There is nothing like it!

  7. Glad you had a good time at the Lakeland Wine Festival. Beauutful photos of the balloon launching. That dinner in the tent looked inviting but ouch on the price.

  8. Balloons and wine-now there is a great combination!