Regata de Globos in Ajijic

regata de globos

Take a bunch of tissue paper.  Glue it into a balloon type shape.  Fasten a metal ring at the bottom opening.  Soak a ring of cotton in something VERY flammable.  Put the soaked cotton ring onto the metal frame inside the tissue paper balloon and light it on fire.  Then release and hope for the best.

That, in a nutshell, is what the Regata de Globos, or balloon festival, is all about.  I'm not sure why it is called a "regata", but there's a lot of things in Mexico I don't understand. :)

The preparations for this fire-filled even began 2 weeks prior.  Our church had a workshop where we could go and make a globo, or balloon.  I went with 4 of the children and we made our big balloon.  If we'd planned a little better AND realized we needed to make 5 panels per balloon, I'm sure our kids would have come up with something more stylish.  But we got to the workshop late (big surprise!) and made do.

On Sept 8th, we took our creation to the big soccer field in Ajijic, a nearby town, for the big event.  It started off pretty slow.  People weren't really doing much until after 3pm and that's when the fun began.  Group after group started preparing their globos for flight…or fireballs!

Will it fly or will it burn???

It burned!

Here's one our 12 yr old made from the leftover tissue paper scraps.

It burned, too.  The flames were too tall for such a little balloon.  Notice how the kids JUMPED to stomp out the fire!  They would literally RUN across the soccer fields to get a chance to stomp on a burning donut of flames and cotton. 

Some people got very creative with their globos.  I liked this shape.

I don't think they ever got this one off the ground.  It seemed too tall and kept falling over.

This one has a small plastic water bottle tied to the bottom to keep the hot air balloon upright.  The trick is to not fill it up too much with water.

Look at all the color in this balloon!

We think this balloon is supposed to be Mike from Monsters, Inc.  Look at the kid in black RUNNING towards it!

Mike caught on fire…poor Mike.

I was amazed by all the colors in my photos.  This is the grandstand area where people could sit and watch.

Another interesting shape.

I think this one was my favorite, but I think it had just too much tissue and it never got higher than this.

People even sat on the wall of the stadium to catch a glimpse of the festival.

15 pesos for a homemade plastic spinner for the Little Prince.  It kept him happy. :)

We resisted buying candy and nuts from this vendor.  I am continually impressed by the industrious nature of Mexican people.  Who knew that a wheelbarrow, some wood & string, some candy and nuts and a scale would equal a business?  I'm sure this person did very well that day.

This spider balloon was VERY cute.

Nothing but tissue paper and glue.  These suckers burn up FAST.

Most of the family.  We're missing one, but a friend's daughter filled in.  When you have this many children, adding in another almost goes unnoticed.

Even local businesses made their own balloons.

Good thing this takes place at the end of the rainy season or this tree would have gone up in smoke!  I loved the creativity of the die.

Towards the end of our time there, the skies (which had dropped some light rain) cleared out, making for pretty photos.

This was a LARGE balloon.  We had to leave before all the big ones launched, but they spent a long time getting this one ready.

A peek through the fence on our way out.

One last look at the crowds.

Our family had a GREAT time at the Regata de Globos in Ajijic.  While we were there, the pilot and I kept looking at each other and saying, "This would NEVER EVER be allowed in the US!"  There was fire everywhere.  Flaming rings of cotton plummeted from the sky into the crowds.  Kids ran FULL FORCE towards those flaming donuts.  It was a BLAST! 

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