The Louisiana Hot Air Balloon Championships almost didn't take place this year. After LSU's Pennington Biomedical Research Center announced that they would no longer host the event and the Louisiana Ballooning Foundation announced that they would not participate, a group of organizers from Ascension Parish decided to get together and keep the festival going. I have more some of my favorite images from past years' events in my Hot Air Balloon collection.
I watched these balloons as a kid on the State Fair Grounds and as an adult on the Pennington grounds. I'm used to having a fixed location to hang out and watch everything that goes on. This year's event was less organized than previous years. If you wanted to watch the competition portion of the event, you had to check the Bring Hot Air Balloons to Ascension Parish Facebook page the morning of the event. The viewing area for this year's competition was in a parking lot behind a fire station, sandwiched in between a dumpster and a wrecked car with the top cut off. The pilots seemed to have no idea where to go after the competition was over and they were landing in parking lots, on the side of the road, and in unsuspecting homeowner's' back yards.