HUGHESVILLE - Rebecca Elkins describes it as waking up on Christmas morning and seeing colorful tree ornaments.
People who venture to or near the Lycoming County Fairgrounds this weekend and look skyward at certain times will know what Elkins means.
The Lycoming County Rotary Clubs festival, co-sponsored by the Williamsport Sun-Gazette, will feature 13 balloons and plenty of other attractions, including Team RV, described as the world's largest precision airshow team.
A balloonist tests out his propane burners Thursday at the county fairgrounds, before the Rotary Club’s festival Saturday.
"This (event) is a once-in-a-lifetime event for a chance to take hot air balloon rides," said Elkins, a balloonmeister and balloon pilot.
She said Lycoming County is a great place for the event.
Despite the hilly terrain, there are plenty of open spaces for pilots to navigate their balloons.
Never mind that balloons don't have brakes or steering wheels and are at the mercy of winds.
"You go in the direction the wind is blowing," she explained.
That's why, she said, the balloons are flown at around sunset and sunrise - the times when there normally is less wind.
So where do the balloons land? Well ... in just about any open space that can be found.
"We are very sensitive to landowners," she said.
And, she can recall no bad experiences with people. In fact, most landowners kind of like the idea of a colorful hot air balloon suddenly interrupting their lives.
Pilot Bob Mueller agreed that Lycoming County, with its natural beauty and friendly people, is a great place to showcase the balloons. He goes to about five such events each year and always has fun.
"I get to travel and meet people," the New Jersey resident said.
There will be opportunities for people to take balloon rides at selected times, including on Friday night before the event officially kicks off.
"We hope to have tethered rides," Elkins added. "We brought in a pilot specifically for tethering."
For Mike Stewart, airplane pilot and leader of Team RV, having on hand the balloons is a great complement to his aerobatics show.
"For a really great event, you need a little bit of everything," he said.
Stewart likens his team to the Blue Angels.
"We do formations. We do stunts," he said.
Also on hand to perform will be the only all-female sky-diving team in the world.
The event also will include ATV drag races, magicians and other attractions. Sandy Spencer, event chairwoman, promises a great time for the public.
"It's a lot of hard work but it pays off," she said.
Advanced tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for children.
More information, including times for balloon rides, is at www.LCRotary.com.