I crave the stability of traditions, despite the fact that I am impatient for a life chock-full of adventures and new things every day. The Christmas Story, an Easter Pinata, Flower Mart, a week on Nantucket -- these are my touchstones through all of the chaos I gleefully swirl through.
My parents, and their parents, and back and back used to be responsible for this, but now I seek out opportunities to lay the foundation for new traditions. Drinking in downtown Frederick on Christmas night - Classy? No. A tradition? Absolutely. The Kuma's 5K. A New Year's Day Party (though we inherited/downright stole this one, I treasure it in a nook particularly close to my heart).
My new favorite? The Great Galena Balloon Race.
When I read about it in a Time Out article last summer, I had a vision for a perfect, colorful weekend. Luckily, I had a partner in crime who shared this vision. So we waited patiently, never doubting for a second that this was going to be all the things we wanted it to be.
And. It. Was.
There was a moment as we were driving in that I got the cold dread of "what if this was a mistake," but the moment we saw our first balloon cresting the hill, it granted every wish I had for the weekend.
Galena is far, but not-too-far, and they're pretty loosey-goosey on the "don't bring your own booze or food" rules, making it an economically sound weekend investment in joy and photography.
Deep below my ribs I feel like I want to do this every year. I want to pack up a car, and a cooler, and rent a condo, and spend all evening on the grassy lawn watching balloons float overhead. I want to stay up too late playing games, and then drag myself out of bed for the quiet delight of the sunrise race (and then go immediately back to bed). I want to be surrounded by friends, and kids, and wine juice boxes. I want a catalog of memories of this specific place over years and years.
My goal, by putting this out into the internet tubes, is that I'll hold myself to making it a real thing. Around April of next year (and every year after), I'll send out an email to my Urban Family and Work Boos and get a head count for the condo... and we'll arrange cars, and make pasta salads, and enjoy the most joyful start to summer.