2011 Harvest Balloon Festival at Sterling on the Lake

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Stirred by an autumn breeze, the turning leaves of the trees rustled in the wind. Cool temperatures and clear skies created the perfect setting for the Second Annual Harvest Balloon Festival at Sterling on the Lake in Flowery Branch, Georgia.

In case you didn’t know, the hot air balloon is the oldest, successful, human-carrying flight technology. On November 21, 1783, in Paris, France, the first untethered manned flight was made by Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier and François Laurent d'Arlandes in a hot air balloon created on December 14, 1782 by the Montgolfier brothers.

Sterling on the Lake bustled, while people gathered amidst of colorful hot air balloons as they filled with heated air, expanding slowly like behemoths stretching after a long sleep. The balloons covered the park-like setting with color and form. And then, they slowly, majestically, silently lifted off the ground, floating up into the sky. There they paused shortly, hanging like ornaments decorating the blue sky, before flying off.

Later, guests celebrated fall with pumpkin carvings, hayrides, face paintings, tasty treats, games, and live music throughout the day.

The celebration ended with a balloon glow that evening. It was quite extraordinary to behold, as one hot-air balloon after the other ignited its burner … and, finally, all of them were lit up, creating a beautiful effect against the evening sky.

Admission into the festival was free.  Money raised through parking fees and purchases benefited the National Military Family Association, which provides support to families of the military, and Challenged Child and Friends, an organization that serves children with disabilities through educational, therapeutic, nursing and family counseling services.

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Bonnie Morét is an award-winning photographer recognized by The Georgia Council of the Arts as "an exceptional representation of contemporary Georgia art work." Her photography is featured on Georgia Public Broadcast's Georgia Traveler. Her exhibitions include Fifth Annual Exposure Awards at Musee du Louvre in Paris, France, Art Takes Miami at Scope Art during Art Basel Miami, Metro Montage XIII at the Marietta/Cobb Museum of Art, World of Water at the Georgia Aquarium, Open Walls at Black Box Gallery in Portland, Oregon, Wholly Georgia: A Look at the Effects of Southern Religious Culture, sponsored by the Art History League and Georgia State University, at Mint Gallery in Atlanta, Georgia, 6x6 at the Rochester Contemporary Arts Center in Rochester, New York, @Phonography: Dialogue in the Wireless Age, at 3 Ring Circus in New Orleans, Louisiana, and About Lands and Lives of the Civil War at the 6th Cavalry Museum in Ft. Oglethorpe, Georgia. Her photography appears in Modern Luxury/The Atlantan, Jezebel Magazine, and hangs in the executive offices at the Georgia State Capitol as part of the Art of Georgia exhibit. Corporate clients include Atlanta Ballet, Atlanta History Center, Chanel Cosmetics, Christian Dior Cosmetics, Sharp Mountain Vineyards, PM Realty Group, Granite Properties, Road Atlanta, Patrón Tequila, Georgia's Own Credit Union, StubHub, CBM Records and The Washington Auto Show.