NEW SMYRNA BEACH -- With hot air balloons taking to the skies just after dawn and few people on the ground, farm animals stood out at the New Smyrna Beach Municipal Airport. There were a couple of mini horses, several majestic horses, a big ol' cow and half a dozen floppy-eared bunny rabbits.
Among the few hundred people at the airport on the final morning of the three--day weekend New Smyrna Beach Balloon & Sky Fest with a dozen or so large balloons being launched, nearly a quarter of them paid as much attention to the animals as they did the balloons -- young and old alike.
Farm animals, as shown here, were very much a part of the New Smyrna Beach Balloon & Sky Fest as shown in these early Sunday images at the New Smyrna Beach Municipal Airport.
The horses were part of a riding stable while the smaller horses were being prepared for pony rides. There was plenty of hay and grass for the four legged creatures penned on the western side side of the airport, the same direction the balloons were headed between 6:30 and 8 a.m.
This cow is alert to passersby as are these two horses. And what's a farm animal display without a green John Deere tractor?
The two mini horses -- one brown, one white -- could be heard crying out some 15 yards away from their pen as their caretakers readied them for the day.
Agriculture was emphasized at the balloon festival as shown by this University of Florida banner.
The farm animals got lots of attention with people posing for photos in front of their pens and some even feeding the horses loose hay, even though a sign posted cautioned against it because the horses could inadvertently bite. The animals were peaceful and in good spirits as the day got under way under a warm Florida sun.