Each Labor Day weekend, since 1977, Colorado Springs has been the home to the Colorado Ballon Classic. In this time, it has become one of the largest and continously running Hot Air Balloon festivals in the Western United States. I had last attended this event, which is free to the public, back in the early 1980s, when it was first getting it’s start. It is now a major community event that draws in ballonists and spectators from all around the region. It is also a hotbed of photographers, all vying to get that perfect image, the one that nobody else got! Check out the Colorado Springs Flickr group for a lot of really great images.
The Pathfinder — the first balloon launch of the morning. This crew gives the other pilots and idea of how the balloons will react to the winds and give them an idea of where they may be heading. This colorful balloon was the first to launch on Sunday morning.
As the pathfinder floats away, the other crews are busy inflating their balloons. Within minutes, many are upright and will be ready to launch! Typically, the prevailing winds will bring the balloons south, and they will do “touch and go” landings on the lake just south of the launch site. The winds on this day, however, were blowing north, which is a bit unusual. Check out the Flickr link for some water landing pictures from other days of the festival.
The festival attracts kids of all ages. It is such a joyous occasion, and the thrill of watching a ballon take flight, and sharing it with another family member is a wonderful experience.
Why yes, pigs do fly!
One of the signature items of the Colorado Balloon Classic is the Balloon Glo®, a nightly event that fills the park with brightly lit balloons as darkness descends.
On Sunday evening, the winds were a little brisk, so only a handful of balloons inflated, but it was still an wonderful sight. The other crews, in the spirit of the event, lit their burners while the inflated balloons were glowing.