Hot air balloon glow nights featured during Stephenville Moo-La Fest

By: Taylor kaluza

Multimedia Journalist

UPDATE: Hot air balloon rides are for Moo-La Fest sponsors only.

When many people think of hot air balloons, they picture vibrant patterns and colors lighting up the sky or how offer the perfect aerial view of the scenery around them. The annual Moo-La Fest in Stephenville, Texas, is hosting a free hot air balloon glow event. There will be hot air balloons to look at and ride in beginning June 3 through June 5 from 8-9 p.m. each night.

Workers preparing one of the balloons for take-off.
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The Moo-La Fest will have lots of vibrant hot air balloons to enjoy, including some that glow in the dark as well as a variety of other events to enjoy. The hot air balloons are usually set up during sunset and are lit up at night. What makes the Hot Air Balloon Glow event so special is that balloon owners anchor their balloons to the ground to provide a display for people to look at as well as ride in throughout the rest of the festival.

Getting reading to take to the sky.
Photo Courtesy of

According to Balloon Fiesta, a hot air balloon company, Pilatre De Rozier, a scientist, was the first person to ever get a hot air balloon off the ground on September 19, 1783. While the first passengers were not humans, and instead consisted of a sheep, duck and rooster, the balloon stayed off the ground for a total of 15 minutes and is known as the Aerostat Reveillon.

The first manned attempt to fly a hot air balloon came in November of 1783 by Joseph and Etienne Montgolfier, who actually flew the balloon over Paris for 20 minutes. This marked history as being the first successful flight by man and would be challenged by others for years to come. Another major milestone was made by Jean Pierre Blanchard who flew the first hot air balloon across America.

About 150 years after the first successful attempt, people’s fascination with hot air balloons began to decrease due to their lack of safety and “the advancement of lighter than air gas ballooning,” according to Balloon Fiesta.

It was not until the late 1950s that Ed Yost figured out how to power the hot air balloon as we do today, by using bottled propane to heat the inside of the balloon rather than using an onboard fire. After this achievement, Yost was able to fly a hot air balloon around Nebraska for an hour and 35 minutes; later, Richard Branson and Per Linstrant became the first to fly it across the Pacific Ocean.

To further explain, according to, hot air balloons have three main components that mainly help in getting the balloon off the ground. These parts are the burner and the balloon envelope, which heat the air and keep it in the balloon. As a result of the cold air being warmed in the balloon, the cool air is pushed down and makes the balloon go up. The last major component is the basket, which takes passengers up and away on an adventure.

While previously the hot air balloons were heated differently, most modern-day balloons heat the balloon with propane and are a lot safer.

That being said, now you know more about how hot air balloons were invented as well as how they work. So, go check out the hot air balloon event in the dark display June 3-5 at the Stephenville City Park from 8-9 p.m.

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