Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s a hot air balloon on Salisbury University’s campus! This past Sunday, Salisbury University’s “Student Organization for Activities Planning,” better known as SOAP, gave participants a once in a lifetime opportunity to ride in a hot air balloon. It was as if Disney’s movie “Up” were coming to life right here on the Eastern Shore as participants floated up into the clouds.

It was an act of fate that the high flying adventure made it to Salisbury University’s campus last week. SOAP members were perusing the internet and just happened to stumble upon a company renting out balloon rides. One thing led to another, resulting in the Rohr Balloon Company bringing their giant balloon from McKinney, Texas to Salisbury, Maryland. Brant told us that the friendly, family-owned business was very helpful and that “they set the entire event up and took it down! All we had to do was publicize.”

SOAP is a student-run organization that provides free or reduced price events for Salisbury University students and visitors. According to Emma Brant, Director of SOAP events, “we provide comedy events, trips, recreation events, lectures, and late night activities.” SOAP also hosts free movies every Wednesday night, a battle of the bands competition, and the bi-annual University concerts. The wide range of activities hosted by the organization provide for a  fun and safe time for all participants, contributing to its motto of “good, clean fun.”

Due to Salisbury’s infamously windy conditions, the participants could not go up in the balloon as early as was planned. This did not stop students from lining up, and soon a crowd of people were waiting for their chance to fly. Talk of the event had been circulating around campus since SOAP’s email had been sent out; so few were willing to miss out on their chance. When the balloon was finally ready, some flyers went up during daylight. However most continued to go up when the sun had set, giving a unique scene from above. In the end, 346 participants were able to enjoy the breathtaking views from the sky aboard the hot air balloon.

ShoreBread waited in line with everyone else to get our chance to soar into the clouds. When our turn finally came, we climbed into the basket with the rest of our copilots and awaited our journey with mounting anticipation and excitement. Once inside, the balloon conductor fired up the burner and a bright burst of flame roared just above our heads.  We were one of the twilight rides, providing us with a particularly special view of the campus’ lights. It was truly a unique experience – one that we can now check off our bucket list.

airballoon2 airbaloon3 photo 1