PLAINVILLE - While many were still in bed Sunday morning, thousands of people from around the region made their way to Norton Park for the final day of the 33rd annual Plainville Fire Company Hot Air Balloon Festival.
Although the day started off chilly, that did not stop carloads of people from emptying onto the field - with blankets and hot coffee to keep warm - to watch dozens of hot air balloons unroll, inflate and take off into the sky.
First-timer Michelle Edgerton came with her husband and their child from New York. After a friend had told them about the festival, Edgerton said, they had to check it out for themselves.
They started out at 4 a.m. After watching a few of the balloons inflate and take off, Edgerton now knew what all the fuss was about.
“It’s beautiful, there’s so many of them,” she said.
The balloon show attracts as many as 25,000 every year. The three-day festival is the largest event in Plainville and features more than 120 crafters and vendors, live entertainment, activities for children, food and fireworks.
The event ended at 9 a.m. Sunday after a sunrise balloon launch.
Some people came prepared with picnic and lawn chairs, while others stood with cameras pointed at the brightly colored balloons.
For some, it was a large family affair while others came solo.
People of all ages oohed and aahed as each balloon started the process.
Trish Cerbo and her husband came from Granby for the third year.
“I’ve always been fascinated by balloons,” said Cerbo.
She said watching the balloons from beginning to when they go up is what she enjoys the most.
Eva Bojarska of New Britain came out for the first time after her sister, who went last year, told her what an awesome experience it was.
“It’s gorgeous, breath- taking,” she said.
Lifelong Plainville resident John Rossi, his wife Andrea and their two daughters attended together. John said he has been coming to the festival for years.
“It’s neat to see a bunch of balloons all together. You don’t see them all together like this anywhere else,” he said.
The Plainville Fire Company holds the event each year as a fundraiser. The money raised helps operate the fire company and support the community through numerous educational scholarships awarded annually to students.
“It’s a nice community event. To see something bring everyone together is amazing,” Andrea Rossi said.
Angie DeRosa can be reached at 860-801-5063 or firstname.lastname@example.org.