Last night, I went to see “Night Glow,” the culmination of Luxembourg’s LUXGSM ballooning festival. Though I had a hard time finding the event, I was glad I went. I always love Luxembourg’s linguistic and cultural mash of French, German, and Luxembourgish (itself an unintelligible mix of French and German). After the show I noticed that a number of spectators walking home to their houses in Germany. (How many people walk home to Canada after a fireworks show in Portland?)

While waiting for dark, we were treated to a series of hot air balloon launches and hot dog parachutists (one of whom, after a particularly daring descent, missed the target island and had an unexpectedly wet landing). The “Night Glow” itself lasted at least a half hour. The combination of opera, heavy metal, and orchestra music mixed with a healthy dose of fireworks, searchlights, giant sparklers, water sprays, and, of course, a dozen or so hot air balloons illuminated with swirling lights and from within by the huge flames of their heaters, was spectacular. The whole scene, staged on an island, was reflected off the water, and was marred only by the occasional MS Windows alert sound that somehow got added to the sound mix.

The only disappointment of the evening was that I never got to meet “Balloo”, the festival’s presumably balloon-like mascot. Well, that’s something to look forward to next year.