Balloons AND Fireworks return to Pittsfield this weekend

If you were disappointed as many were last year about the exclusion of fireworks at the annual Pittsfield NH Rotary Hot Air Balloon Rally, be rest assured, they are returning this year. From what I’ve been told it’s a scaled back version of the fireworks but there will be fireworks on Saturday evening.

The main attraction to this event is the hot air balloons. Once again it should be a great time in Pittsfield which is just under an hour away from Londonderry. The schedule kicks off on Friday afternoon at 3PM when the carnival rides open. At 5PM the hot air balloons take to the skies as well as helicopter rides from JBI Helicopter Service out of Pembroke, NH. There will also be a hot air balloon night glow on Friday night at 8:30pm!

Helicopter rides are $25.00 per person and last 5-7 minutes. There are some great views of the Suncook River as well as the surrounding area from the helicopters. It’s also pretty neat to be up in a helicopter when the balloons are flying. If you’re adventurous ask for a “HOT” ride. This is where the helicopter will be put into a more steeper dive to get you feeling more like you are in a roller coaster. The best “HOT” rides I saw were many years ago when the helicopter was coming back in for a landing and would swoop down over the Suncook River and then pull up steeply for some good positive G forces.Helicopter Images

Some of the best times to see the balloons go up are in the mornings. You have to get up pretty early to catch them though as they typically take off around 5am. The views on Drake’s Field to along River Rd or on the bridge on Barnstead Rd the sights are truly amazing. You really can’t pick a bad location. Some mornings there is a band of fog on the water and other times it’s as still and smooth as glass. Either way you can get some really great pictures or video of balloons doing the “Splash N Dash”. When a balloon touches down in the water and then takes off or skims across the water. It’s really a cool sight to see the water dripping off the basket.

One of the neatest events during the weekend is the Night Glow. This event happens when the sky is dark the balloons are inflated and use a white flame to light up the balloon. It’s very dramatic and it looks incredible when multiple balloons are all lit up at once.

There is a whole host of other things to do at the balloon rally. There is live music on the main stage, a vendor fair with all your favorite fair foods as well as various booths with merchants selling trinkets and various gifts. There is a midway with carnival rides for young and old. Don’t forget the helicopter rides. The line gets long so if you want to go make sure you get in line early.

Full Schedule

Friday August 3rd 2012
3:00 pm Midway Carnival Rides Begin
4:00-9:00 pm Live Music on Main Stage
5:00-6:00 pm Helicopter & Tethered Balloon Rides Begin
5:30 pm Hot Air Balloons Liftoff (weather permitting)
8:30 pm Night Glow!!!

Saturday August 4th 2012
5:30 am Hot Air Balloons Liftoff (weather permitting)
10:00-3:00pm Craft Exhibits & Fun Activities On The Field!
11:00 am Midway Carnival Rides Begin
2:00 pm Helicopter Rides Begin
4:00-9:30 pm Live Music on Main Stage
5:30 pm Hot Air Balloons Liftoff (weather permitting)
6:00 pm Tethered Balloon Rides Begin
8:30 pm SUPER Night Glow!!
9:30 pm Fireworks

Sunday August 5th 2012
5:30 am Hot Air Balloons Final Liftoff
No 5k Road Race this year

Parking and entrance to the rally is free but a $5.00 donation is requested per person. Proceeds go to the Pittsfield Rotary which puts on this great event every year. You also get a pamphlet which has information about the balloons as well. Food & Beverages, Carnival Amusements, Helicopter Rides, & Tethered Hot Air Balloon Rides ALL have charges. Drake Field is a smoke-free facility. Smoking is strictly prohibited on the field at all times. Bags, coolers, backpacks, and other containers are not allowed into the Rotary Balloon Rally except for childcare and medical needs. All bags may be checked prior to entering the event gates. Also there are no pets allowed, the Health Department prohibits pets at a food festival.

Here is last years article with some different pictures

Pete Langlois lives in Derry with his wife and 2 children. Pete works in the information technology banking sector as a systems administrator. He is an accomplished photographer and loves to shoot at air shows & balloon festivals. He also enjoys shooting waterfalls, nature and macro photography. You can view his outstanding images on his website


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