Balloon festival inflates entertainment in Craig |

Balloon festival inflates entertainment in Craig

7th annual balloon festival offers extra activities, fun for patrons

Noelle Leavitt Riley
The seventh annual Moffat County Balloon Festival hosted a number of activities including the Colorado Cruisers Classic Car Show on Saturday.
Noelle Leavitt Riley

Loudy-Simpson Park in Craig was bustling with activity over the weekend, bringing a plethora of fun to those who attended the 2016 Moffat County Balloon Festival.

It was the seventh year for the festival, and this year was bigger and better than ever, according to festival organizers.

Early on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, dozens of balloons set up for launch at Loudy-Simpson. The weather wasn’t great for takeoff on Saturday, but the balloons took flight early Friday and Sunday mornings.

The Colorado Cruisers Classic Car Show boasted more than a hundred classic cars, and the festival had about a half dozen bouncy houses for children, making the weekend fun for all ages.

“This weekend has been fantastic,” said event organizer, Melody Villard. “We had a lot of extra activities this year.”

Saturday’s weather turned gloomy around 3:30 p.m., sending many people home right before the festival’s premier band performed.

Regardless, the Steve Thomas Band, of Denver, put on an entertaining show, that even Craig’s Mayor Ray Beck enjoyed.

As the weather improved, patrons danced to classic cover tunes played by the band.

“I was a little disappointed in the weather, but Mother Nature doesn’t always cooperate,” said Pat McCaffrey, who helped create the festival years ago. “I love this new band we got. They’re great.”

The weather dampened the traditional balloon glow that takes place at the end of festivities on Saturday. Instead, the hot air balloonists administered what event organizer Randy Looper calls “candle sticking” the balloons. That means, the balloonists lit the propane on fire without blowing up the balloons, as the weather made it too risky to do so.

“We have the best pilots of any balloon festival,” Villard said. “So this weekend has been fantastic.”

Contact Noelle Leavitt Riley at 970-875-1790 or Contact Noelle Leavitt Riley at 970-875-1790 or or follow her on Twitter @noelleleavitt.Contact Noelle Leavitt Riley at 970-875-1790 or or follow her on Twitter @noelleleavitt.

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