Tailgate flying at rallies is as much of the experience as the flight
itself. Post-flight parties are spirited exchanges, which usually end
within a couple hours so the pilots and crew can get enough sleep to
prepare for the next flight.
Even if you're the only balloon in the sky, you're sharing the experience
with your passengers, your crew, and the spectators enroute and at the
landing. Balloonists traditionally end the flight with a toast of champagne,
a practice dating back to the 1700's. Even in today's alcohol-conscious
society, ballooning is thirsty work, and the celebrations take place
with at least non-alcoholic beverages, although real champagne is still
one of the expenses we all figure into the budget.
A long time ago someone wrote a balloonists prayer, and we've used
it in the post flight ceremonies ever since:
The winds have welcomed you with
The sun has held you in his warm hands
You have flown so high and so well
That God has joined you in your laughter
And set you gently back down
Into the loving arms of Mother Earth.