Posted by: Debbie Abrams Kaplan | August 8, 2011

Burned Meatloaf

We were at the QuickCheck Festival of Ballooning. It was 300 degrees outside and we were on an airstrip with no natural shade. Well, at some point we had a little shade when the tethered hot air balloon carrying customers up a few hundred feet at $20 a pop went up, blocking the sun. But the ride was short, and so was our shade.

The festival promised up to 125 balloons in a mass ascension. That was the world’s biggest deception. They rose one at a time, and we counted 55. Not that 55 balloons in the sky isn’t a beautiful sight. But it would have been more accurate to say “up to 60 balloons” and then expectations would have been lowered – of course so would ticket sales.

The most popular booths at this festival were the drink sponsors giving away one ounce liquid samples. We didn’t particularly care what kind of liquids – we were so thirsty, we might have sucked down antifreeze. Even the kids commented how delicious the cold diet teas and Pepsi One sodas were. They certainly tasted better than the water we brought, which was at boiling point after about 15 minutes.

Guess who was one of the sponsors?

We loved the “fine art” tent, where we perused glass paperweights holding jellyfish, and stained glass windows featuring…hot air balloons. And Amazonian wooden frogs that were also noisemakers. Yeah, we’ve seen those around…everywhere.

We were excited to hear the Meatloaf concert. Er, I was excited. Though we sat on the side of the stage (behind the chain link fence, even though the concert was free). Unfortunately there weren’t any speakers pointed in our direction, so the concert was not as good as expected. Though I’m not sure I wanted the kids to hear all the words to Paradise by the Dashboard Lights anyway. Poor Meatloaf was dressed in a long sleeve black shirt. I comforted myself knowing that he was getting paid a lot of money to sweat and run around the stage. Turns out he overheated too – not sure if he got any of those Pepsi One samples. TMZ reported that he needed oxygen after the concert. But really, who could blame the 63 year old singer for passing out in that heat?

for my Wisconsin friends

After visiting the misting tent for the 10th time (wet t-shirt contest!) we watched the Cannon Lady, who we heard has graced the cover of a newspaper in every state in the union. That impressed the kids. She wore black fishnet stockings. That impressed Mark. Our lady of the cannon was shot 120 feet into the air – which was impressive. Dori loved that her blonde hair was streaked with red and blue tips. I was just happy she made it into the net and that my camera was fast enough (thanks for the camera, Dad!).

It's the cannon lady, Jennifer Schneider

her final wave before going into the 115+ degree cannon (though it has it's own little light in there for her to see)

don't worry - she landed just fine in the net.

As part of the festivities, you could sign up for a balloon ride for the low sum of $225/person. It took Zack awhile to get the answer to 4 x 3 on Good Morning America, however he quickly calculated that $225 x 4 “would only cost us $900 for the whole family.” He didn’t know why we said no. We’re so mean and cheap.

the obligatory family with the balloons shot

the QuickChek (chief sponsor) balloon

up, up and away

the view from the parking lot, before we got stuck in traffic going home. We were out of water.



  1. Great post! “We were so thirsty, we might have sucked down antifreeze”–still chuckling at that one.

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