“Love is waiting there, in my beautiful balloon
Way up in the air, in my beautiful balloon
If you’ll hold my hand, we’ll chase your dream across the sky”
“For we can fly, up, up and away
(For we can fly)
In my beautiful, my beautiful balloon, balloon”
The famous song by Jimmy Webb, a hit for the 5th Dimension in the 1960’s, now celebrates the 38th Annual Colorado Balloon Classic in Colorado Springs. “Making Life More Colorful” is the theme this year for the beautiful balloon festival on Labor Day weekend, August 30, 31, and September 1.
38th Annual Colorado Balloon Classic
Each morning, many balloons will be rolled out and launched into the cooler air around 7:00 a.m. Lighter early morning winds are preferred to carry the balloons “up, up and away.” A concert will start at 8:00 a.m. each morning. Admission is free for spectators.
A special Balloon Glo is set for Saturday and Sunday evenings beginning at 7:30 p.m. The Pikes Peak Volkswagen Club will have a display Saturday evening. Food concessions are available.
A little history
Hot air ballooning became popular in the late 18th century throughout Europe and North America. The technology has changed very little since the first documented manned hot air balloon flight took place in Paris in 1783.
Jacque-Etienne and Joseph-Michael Montgolfier gave the first recorded manned flight of a hot air balloon on October 19, 1783. Earlier in September, a duck, a rooster and a sheep had been sent aloft for a few minutes.
The first manned flight using hydrogen was held on December 1, 1783 in Paris. Jean-Pierre Blanchard, who was to become a popular balloonist, crossed the English Channel on his balloon in January of 1785. He brought ballooning to Philadelphia in 1795 where he launched a balloon that lifted to 5,800 feet, more than a mile into the air.
Benjamin Franklin was present at the first hot air balloon flight in Paris and President George Washington witnessed the first balloon ride in the new United States.
The Union Air Balloon Corp was formed during the Civil War to carry information and possibly spy on Confederate troops. This was probably the predecessor of the Army Air Force.
Balloons have also been used for three centuries to measure atmospheric conditions to predict weather.
Per Lindstrand and Richard Branson (who owns an airline), flew in the Pacific Flyer hot air balloon from Japan to Northern Canada in 1991 covering approximately 7,671 kilometers. The Brietling Orbiter 3 carrying Brian Jones and Bertrand Piccard completed a balloon circumnavigation in 1999.
Private hot air balloon owners are now required to be licensed. Most balloons have baskets to carry passengers and the burner mechanism. The “cloud hopper” balloon only has a seat for one person below the balloon.
There are approximately 2,500 personally-owned balloons in the U.S.. and 495 hot air balloon tour companies. Many hot air balloon companies offer tethered flights where the basket is attached to the ground although the balloon may ascend several hundred feet into the air.
The balloons on the flights that are part of the Colorado Balloon Classic are controlled by the wind currents and the amount of heat blowing into the balloon. They float over the valley and try to land at Memorial Park although chase cars may assist them if they land in other fields. Memorial Park is located near Prospect Lake off of Pikes Peak Ave. and Hancock Ave.
The Colorado Springs Balloon Classic is sponsored by the City of Colorado Springs, El Paso County, KBIQ, KRDO Channel 13, Univision, KWHS-TV and other businesses in the community.
The Colorado Springs Balloon Classic is just one of the many events that help make the Colorado Springs area a unique and exciting place to live. If you’re interested in making it your home, begin searching for homes here or contact Park Avenue Properties of Colorado Springs.