(Copyright 1999 by The Tattoo. All rights reserved.)

The Tattoo

--- Making a Permanent Impression Since 1994 ---


Vol. 5, No. 17

May 24, 1999

This is a special issue of The Tattoo, a photo page by Bristol Central High School senior Amanda Lehmert showing what she saw during last year's Balloons Over Bristol. The printed page contains a handful of color pictures that we cannot republish here. But we would be happy to send copies of the page to anyone who asks for one. Just drop us an e-mail with your snail mail address. Here is Amanda's story about that accompanies the photos:

A bird's eye view of beautiful Bristol

The Tattoo

When once in a lifetime comes knocking on the door
at an inopportune moment, what do you do?

Tell it to come back later?

Heck no.

If you are anything like this night owl, you shake out
your tail feathers and hop down to Page Park
sometime in the wee hours of the morning. That is, of
course, only if once in a lifetime happens to be a hot
air balloon over none other than our fair city of

At the last minute, I was asked to be one of a small
number of journalists, photographers and city official
types to take a balloon ride as  a preview of Balloons
Over Bristol last year. Even though I had to get up
long before the sun felt it necessary to rise, this was
not something I was about to pass up.

On a chilly Wednesday morning, I pulled into Page
Park, where 'Grandpa's Rainbow' was waiting to carry
me off into the clouds. The hot air balloon was shades
of red with waves of blue, pink, orange, yellow and
green. It was named by the balloonist's granddaughter,
so the story goes, and it was inflating away when I
found it on the field.

Soon enough I was clambering over the side of the
balloonist's basket and preparing for take-off. I learned
that the most important thing to do is to stay inside the
basket unless told otherwise. Apparently one or two
eager riders have exited the balloon on touchdown, not
a landing, and were left behind. That was all the
warning I needed.

Other than the graceful exit rule, there weren't too
many other regulations. Keeping important limbs
inside the vehicle was actually discouraged, especially
if there were people on the ground to wave to.

With those few thoughts to bear in mind, we were up
in the air.

Although hot air balloons appear to be a lazy trip, the
launch actually happens swiftly. One second you are
tethered to the ground and the next you are defying
gravity, watching as the real world shrinks into

Aside from the obvious charm of watching Bristol at
small scale, hot air ballooning is a truly magical way
to travel. Balloonists are serious about the sport, but
it's the 'floating on a cloud' feeling that draws them to
the mystical journey.

Traveling by plane pales in comparison to a ride that
lets you literally reach out and touch the tops of trees,
yell 'good morning' to other early risers and go on a
whim with the breeze.

If you want to catch a piece of the balloon magic for
yourself, come on down to Memorial Boulevard this

The event, which is sponsored by the Bristol Jaycees,
is scheduled to launch balloons at dusk on Friday and
at both 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. All
proceeds go to charity.

There will be tons of crafts, games, rides and, of
course, balloons, so don't miss out.

Click here to read another Tattoo take on ballooning