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This year's Labor Day Lift Off will feature a record number of balloons.

The skies above Colorado Springs will be flecked with bits of color this weekend as the 45th Labor Day Lift Off takes flight Sept. 4-6 at Memorial Park. The annual event, which features hot air balloons, food trucks and vendors, live music, and festivities will return to the Springs after COVID restrictions last year required organizers to launch balloons at separate sites throughout the city.

“Here we are, the 45th Labor Day Lift Off,” said Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers during a Labor Day Lift Off Media Day event on Sept. 3. “It’s become part of the DNA of Colorado Springs. It’s something that our citizens look forward to every year. If the weather is good you’ll see some incredible crowds out here this weekend.”

The mayor added, “We’ve got a record number of balloons this year, that’s absolutely fantastic.”

Festivities begin at 5:30 a.m. when the park opens Saturday morning, followed by the balloon launch at 7 a.m. The evenings will feature a balloon glow at 7 p.m., followed by live music. Between the lift off and the balloon glow, Memorial Park will host live music, performances by the Aerial Acrobats, the U.S. Air Force Academy Wings of Blue Skydive Jumpers and more.

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A hot air balloon flight can burn up to 15 gallons of propane.

 

Balloon pilots from across the country come to Colorado Springs for the three-day event. Jacob Little, a pilot from Phoenix, said he loves flying in Colorado Springs. Little’s balloon, made of nomex and ripstop nylon, holds 90,000 square feet of hot air to provide lift. On Friday, the Indy joined Little as he cruised at 7,500 feet over the Knob Hill neighborhood before landing on the practice green at the Patty Jewett Golf Course.

Hot air balloons, as their name implies, are powered by burning propane, up to 15 gallons in one flight, and have no steering abilities. Pilots are at the whims of the wind and the weather, making landing an inexact science.

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Landing is an inexact science, so open areas like public parks or the Patty Jewett Golf Course are prized by balloon pilots.

For more information about this weekend’s event, visit the event webpage.

News Reporter

Heidi Beedle is a former soldier, educator, activist, and animal welfare worker. She received a Bachelor’s in English from UCCS. She has worked as a freelance writer covering LGBTQ issues, nuclear disasters, cattle mutilations, and social movements.