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Ballooning on the Beach

In 1917, the Russian city of Petrograd went to sleep with its streetlights shut off in fear of bombardment by zeppelins. Unlike Goodyear blimps, which tend to circle in the sky like happy cows, the airships of World War I bristled with weaponry. The Germans sent them on (slow, very slow) bombing raids over Europe, including to London. Decidedly more friendly balloons are arrayed at the Hollywood Beach Broadwalk for the city’s wild and crazy Balloon Festival. Six hot-air balloons will be tethered to the sand, and visitors will ride them up and down for free. For those who don’t know, taking off in a hot-air balloon’s straw basket is a breathtaking sensation, akin to flying in a dream or pissing yourself. Meanwhile, the boardwalk will teem with dozens of DJs and bands, playing everything from blues to techno nonstop. The Balloon Festival runs Friday through Sunday, morning till night. Jupiter One, a fantastic indie-rock outfit out of Brooklyn, caps it off at 7:30 p.m. Sunday. The only thing missing here is a rousing performance of “99 Luftballoons” by the German band Nena.
Jan. 2-4, 2009


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