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Balloons on the Brain: Snowmass Balloon Festival

Marissa D'Orazio's picture

Balloon race over pond: Air balloon race over the pond at Glenwood.Balloon race over pond: Air balloon race over the pond at Glenwood.Keystone, CO- Marissa D'Orazio- Fly high this weekend in Snowmass village for the annual Snowmass Balloon Festival. A celebration of kaleidoscopic colors will fill the wild blue yonder as dozens of hot air balloons take to the sky with the Elk Mountain Range as their back drop. This years three day festival marks the 35th year of the colorful celebration.

Whether it was skydiving or star gazing, I’ve been enamored with the beauty of the sky and the out of reach idea of flight since I was a little girl. I’ve taken advantage of every opportunity possible to get as close to the clouds as possible. Riding in a hot air balloon is something I’ve always wanted to do. It offers riders a non-traditional, peaceful way to take in the extraordinary scenery of an area like the Rocky Mountains in Aspen. This event offers a hands-on experience doing just that.

Bunny flies high over mountains: The Energizer Bunny balloon floats over the mountains in the Annual Snowmass Balloon FestivalBunny flies high over mountains: The Energizer Bunny balloon floats over the mountains in the Annual Snowmass Balloon FestivalThe Snowmass Balloon Festival kicks of this Friday, September 17th at the Snowmass Softball field with events carrying through Saturday and commencing Sunday with an Awards Ceremony. Admission to the event is free and promises onlookers a great time. Attendees can look forward to four different balloon competitions, family fun Kid’s Zone, tasty barbeque and free concert by Ye Ye Pop & The Organic Fire. The Balloon Festival also coincides with the Snowmass Wine Festival at the Snowmass Village mall. The Wine Fest will feature selections from over 70 wineries and a champagne tasting.

The quirky competitions include:

The Rat Race: A traditional distance race starting at Cozy Point challenging ballooners to land as close to Glenwood as possible.

The Nite Glow: A sunset light show where all ballooners are tied together and anchored to the ground while the pilots illuminate their balloons by firing up their burners.

Dawn Quixote: Gigantic helium balloons are anchored about 50-75 feet off the ground and ballooners rise into the air to pop as many balloons as possible.

Target Tubing: Ballooners start at the Softball fields and track their way to the golf course ponds while trying to throw their 10 balls into huge inflatable rings that have been tethered to the pond.

All and all this event offers up an extraordinary weekend. The Snowmass Balloon Festival is one of the most beautifully, scenic sights featuring the epic Elk Mountains, brushed with the timely golden aspens, blue skies for days punctuated with brilliantly, bright balloons. For more information and a full schedule, check out http://www.snowmassballoon.com