Whether grounded or airborne, balloons dominate the festivities at Old Celina Park. On the ground, the vibrantly patterned balloons glow and undulate as propane burners pump them with hot air. These bright shapes slowly diminish to colorful specks in the sky as the balloons ascend, leaving the fairgrounds far behind.
With this canopy of colored dots overhead, the festival’s entertainment comes alive as musical acts such as the Emerald City Band, Brave Combo and Dallas Wayde take the stage. Pristine cars and trucks made as early as the 1930s shine at the classic-car show, inflatables promote adrenaline rushes along with helicopter rides, zip lining, and carnival rides and pet adoptions in Adoption Alley tug on heartstrings. In the evening, when the balloons that have served as a backdrop all day finally land, each pilot contributes to the balloon glow, punctuating the dusk with jets of flame from their burners to illuminate their vessels.
It's a scene you'd expect to find on a private island. A canopy shades a beach party, where guests pull cold beverages from a cooler and munch grilled meats prepared over open charcoals by cooks. Just off the shore, a boat blasts music, giving a soundtrack to the festivities and making nearby pirates regret canceling their satellite radio subscription.
North Texas Lake Charters' crew creates this oasis at Lake Ray Robert's party cove. Another one of their boats ferries party guests to and from the ramp at Isle Du Bois State Park. From this launch point, the company's captains take passengers on various aquatic adventures. Speedboats pull wake boarders and water-skiers, while fishing boats carry anglers out in search of a prized catch.
Four Winds Aviation's team of veteran sky jockeys vaults passengers skyward for white-knuckle stunt rides and easygoing introductory flights. Intent on maintaining high safety and training standards, Four Winds’ seasoned flight instructors all hold high-level ratings and have earned hundreds of flying hours from service in the military, careers with commercial airlines, and years of entering aerobatic competitions. On any given day, the crew can be found imparting their passion for soaring upon pupils during training courses ranging from basic aerobatics to discovery introductory flights and flight-training courses. Students spend time on terra firma reviewing safety basics before taking flight in one of Four Winds’ meticulously maintained cloud slicers including Piper Archer airplanes, Pitts S2B aerobatic biplanes, and saddle-equipped flying squirrels. Along with beginner and recreational courses, the instructors also help more experienced flyers accrue the hours, experience, and know-how required to work toward sport, instrument, and commercial pilot's licenses.
Dallas Fort Worth Air Tours' pilots love to show off their city; they just do it from several hundred feet in the air. They lead airborne tours of the urban landscape, using planes and helicopters. They cruise along waterfronts, observe ripples of light across steel and glass sky scrapers, and provide a bird's-eye view of the interplay of concrete and greenery in the city's parks.