Balloon Festival -- Bucket List Item Achieved

Tony BarnesStarred Page By Tony Barnes, 1st Sep 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Travel>North America>United States>Colorado

I had always wanted to attend a hot air balloon festival. With this one supposedly being the last one in Colorado Springs, I had to make sure to attend this one.

An Item On My Bucket List

I have always been fascinated with ballooning. About 15 years ago, I had signed up with a tour company to go to a balloon festival north of Dallas. I was so disappointed when the tour company notified us the trip was cancelled due to lack of participation.

When I moved to Colorado, I was elated to learn of the Balloon Classic that has been going on for more than 30 years. But, I got caught up in life and never made it a point to actually go to Memorial Park to watch the launches, lake dips or illumination night.

Unfortunately, due to politics involving the Balloon Classic and the city of Colorado Springs this year may be the last one. Therefore, I knew if I was ever going to witness the show I would have to attend this weekend. Unfortunately, half the state of Colorado had that same idea. Parking was horrible.


After parking, I trudged the half mile last night to watch the illumination show. It was amazing to see in the otherwise darkness. As I began walking, I could see the balloons lighting up as I heard the distant crowd doing the countdown, “Five, four, three, two, one.” And suddenly, a couple of dozen hot air balloons would light up in an amazing array of colors.

I quickened the pace so I could get to the site. I began taking pictures as I walked because I didn’t know when they would stop. I finally got within 75 feet of the balloons. But, unfortunately they had fired their last time and were beginning to droop to the side. Had I been there 5 minutes earlier I would have gotten truly spectacular photos. But, I still did pretty good with my photography and am happy I went.

Many people are hoping the city officials will in good faith negotiate with the Balloon Classic. It would be very short sighted to let Colorado Springs lose such an amazing event. The balloons flying against the backdrop of the Rocky Mountain front range are an incredible sight.

Lake Dip

The next morning I woke early and headed back to Memorial Park for the morning launch. I got there early enough that I saw the majority of them launch and actually got to walk amongst then as they would rise into the air. I was surprised there was not a large cordon for safety. But, there didn’t seem to be any safety concerns with us being amongst the balloons.

After watching them launch, I walked over the nearby hill so I could watch them dip into the lake. They would touch the bottom of the basket into the water before firing the igniter to lift into the sky for a morning of flying. It was a ‘bucket list’ item for me and I am thrilled I got to experience it before they pull out of town permanently. I sure hope there is an 11th hour deal with the city. But, I am sure other cities are courting the Balloon Classic organization to move to their city. Time will tell.

Photo Credit: Pictures taken by author while attending Balloon Classic


Balloon, Balloon Festival, Colorado Rockies, Colorado Springs, Front Range, Illumination, Memorial Park

Meet the author

author avatar Tony Barnes
I am a native Texan who spent 3 years in the Marine Corps Reserves and 25 years on active duty in the Air Force. I have been a Christian since 1985 and am an ordained minister. I am conservative politically and love to study history. I publish a mont...(more)

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author avatar Retired
1st Sep 2014 (#)

Magnificent! While I prefer fixed wing aircraft myself, hot air balloons present a celestial sight.

The 'dip in the lake' of which you speak is a display of skill in maneuvering. Paragliders -- another kind of flying contraption -- drag their feet along the ground while flying low as a similar display of skill.

Flying machines are fascinating, whatever their flying mechanisms might be. Thanks for sharing the pics. Congrats on your bucket-list check off!

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author avatar Tony Barnes
2nd Sep 2014 (#)

Thanks LeRain

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author avatar C.D. Moore
2nd Sep 2014 (#)

Great article!

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author avatar Lee Hansen
3rd Sep 2014 (#)

Tony I'm glad you got a chance to cross something off that bucket list. Hopefully the city will rethink this activity and will have it for many years to go for you and other balloon enthusiasts.

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author avatar Retired
3rd Sep 2014 (#)

I have always been fascinated by hot air balloons, but have never had the courage to go up in one. This article was intriguing to read I love the pictures.

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