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San Francisco, CA Oct. 17th 2011
Burning Man Balloonatics – Making your ‘flying away with a bunch of balloons’ dream a reality.
If you were one of the 50,000 humans at the Burning Man Festival this past August, perhaps you looked into the skies toward the center of the playa and noticed close to 20 giant, primary colored balloons flying fellow burners up, up, up and away! That is if you were conscious at sunrise and the early afternoon hours.
The Balloonatics were cautious and strategic about how and when they were to fly people away on a few strands of balloons. Once the wind picked up, game over! The balloons are heavy and difficult to manage, wind is not their friend. Therefore most of the balloon rides occurred at sunrise and in the early afternoon, with frequent wind and dust-storm breaks.
Who is behind the Balloonatics at Burning Man?
Well, it would take a couple of adventure junky engineers, Konstantin Othmer founder of the audio to text transcription service www.speechpad.com and Bruce Leak co-founder of WebTV.
Along with the help of Joshua Rosen of www.freshr.com and many other happy volunteers who are balloon passionate.
Courtney Hatt of Speechpad/Fellow Burner comments, “It was as if my childhood dream of being a carnie had come true and even better, I wasn’t getting paid! I was honored to keep the Balloonatic’s line organized and chaos free, as people signed their lives away with waivers. It was beautiful to see so many happy faces conquering either a fear, or living a dream, which in my opinion is the best way to connect with another human.”
This year they were able to fly close to 200 people. The Balloonatics will also be featured in an upcoming Burning Man documentary, hoping to hit film festivals worldwide in 2012.
Let’s hope for the opportunity to fly away with the Balloonatics next year!