Balloons soar above Moffat County, despite initial weather delay
CRAIG — As luck would have it, pilots for the Moffat County Hot Air Balloon Festival arrived in town Friday accompanied by desperately needed rain, resulting in the cancellation of Friday mornings’ flights. Moreover, the lingering threat of additional stormy weather initially cast serious doubts on Saturday morning’s scheduled flights.
The launches — originally set for 6:30 a.m. Saturday — were first placed on a 20-minute weather hold, in hopes that cumulous clouds lingering along the horizon at Loudy-Simpson Park would dissipate enough to permit safe flying.
Roughly 20-minutes later, Balloon Meister Barbi Hann relayed the news: Weather conditions continued to pose safety concerns, and flights would have to be canceled. She then asked pilots to “stand your balloons up,” to provide the gathering crowds and event sponsors an opportunity to enjoy the spectacle.
But as pilots and their crews set about the tasks of “cold filling” their balloons, then heating the air inside, one pilot noted, “It looks like those clouds are gone. I wonder if she (Hann) might change her mind.”
“Couldn’t hurt to ask her,” another replied.
Prompted by the pilots, Hann made another weather check, then consulted the Federal Aviation Administration. A few moments later, the word was given: Flights would be allowed, after all, and soon, 28 of the 32 balloons in the field rose skyward and headed west.
Weather permitting balloons will stand again Saturday evening for a balloon glow and attempt to fly a second time on Sunday.
Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com. Craig Press Editor Jim Patterson contributed to this report.