This year’s pilots come from New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and Ohio, bringing balloons come with monikers like Koshare Gallup, Basketcase, SkyTrek, Mary Alice in Wonderland, Whosyadaddy, Sky Candy, Izia Balloon, Kemo Sabe, and more. Peter Procopio is once again the Balloonmeister, with Safety Officer Tom Robinson – both men hail from Gallup, N.M., where they run the annual Red Rocks Balloon Rally in December. Jeff Johnson, from Flagstaff, Ariz., is this year’s weatherman.
For the fifth year, Ballooning Magazine photographer Paul deBerjeois will conduct a free photography workshop aimed at enabling attendees to learn how to get the best balloon pictures – even using cell phones – Saturday, at 1 p.m., at Christ Presbyterian Church, 434 W. Columbia, downstairs.
Local Intermediate school students will get a preview of all that is involved with hot air balloons Friday morning, when three balloons will inflate on the school’s soccer field. Fifth-graders will “crew” for these pilots, learning how to put a balloon together, inflate it and then wrap it all up at the end.
Early morning festival attendees can buy coffee, hot chocolate and homemade goods from Young Life Club members who are earning their way to summer camp.
Volunteers are always needed to help pilots inflate and launch their balloons; those who help on Saturday morning and evening just might get rewarded with a flight on Sunday morning. Call Marilyn Branch at 970/708-2202 to sign on.