Learning to fly in Craig skies | CraigDailyPress.com

Learning to fly in Craig skies

If you have ever dreamed of slowly soaring above the county about 1,000 feet in the air, you may get a chance to fulfill that dream this weekend. 

The Moffat County Hot Air Balloon Festival starts early Friday morning, when two dozen hot air balloon pilots will be taking off at Loudy Simpson Park. As long as the weather is favorable the flights will launch at 6:30 a.m. 

Randy Looper, one of the event organizers said that volunteers are welcome to come out on Friday morning and help with the launches and watch the balloons fly. 

Looper said the event will have 24, possibly 25 pilots flying at the event this weekend. About a third of the pilots are from Colorado while the rest are hailing from New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming, Nebraska, and California. 

The two pilots from California have been flying at the Moffat County Balloon Festival since the beginning, Looper said they’ve been coming back ever since. 

The balloon fest will bring a weekend full of events from Friday morning through Sunday. Activities will include a cardboard boat regatta, where viewers can come and watch cardboard boats mostly sinking on their maiden voyage. There will also be a car show with over 100 cars and even some semi-trucks. 

“How many people have been able to walk around and climb in a semi?” Looper said. “I had never heard of car shows with semis until they brought them last year.”

The biggest features of the weekend, Looper said, will be the unique music acts on Friday and Saturday night. 

On Friday night, there will be a pilot’s dinner where everyone is invited to Yampa Valley Brewing in downtown Craig to meet the balloon pilots and then enjoy live music in Alice Pleasant Park.

Dinner with the pilots will start at 6 p.m., and the Tucker Rose Band will start playing at 7 p.m.

But the musical act that Looper said you can’t miss is The Petty Nicks Experience on Saturday from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Loudy Simpson. The band is taking the stage a little later in the evening, so the music will have a backdrop of glowing balloons flying overhead. 

The Petty Nicks Experience is a band Looper stumbled across a few years ago in Denver. The act will be playing music from Tom Petty, Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac. Looper said that if you close your eyes and listen to them play, they sound like the original musicians. 

“It’s amazing. This is a guy who looks like Tom Petty, sings like Tom Petty. And a lady who looks like Stevie Nicks, sounds like Stevie Nicks, and has all the costumes. Plus a band who plays like Fleetwood Mac.” Looper said. 

All of the balloon festival activities are free to the public thanks to the help of local businesses and sponsorships. There will be ample chances to purchase foods, beverages, crafts, and bouncy houses for kids.

Moffat County Balloon Festival Schedule of events

Friday, August 5 

6:30 a.m. — Hot air balloon launch (weather permitting)

7 p.m. — Concert at Alice Pleasant Park – Tucker Rose Band

Saturday, August 6

6:30 a.m. — Hot air balloon launch (weather permitting)

7 a.m. — Flying Colors 5k run/walk

7:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. — Tether rides available ($10/person)

7 a.m. – 10 a.m. — Breakfast burritos for sale (St. Michaels Ministry)

7:30 a.m. – 9 a.m. — Colorado Cruiser’s car show registration

9 a.m. – 3 p.m. — Colorado Cruiser’s Classic car show

9 a.m. — Northwest Colorado Health Rubber Ducky Race Ticket Sales

9 a.m. – 7 p.m. — Craft vendors

10 a.m. – noon — Classic Air Medical helicopter

10 a.m. – 7 p.m. — Food vendors

11 a.m. – 9 p.m. — Beer gardens

11 a.m. – noon — Live Entertainment | Borillo Entertainment

11:30 a.m. — Rubber ducky race launch from the Ranney Street Bridge

noon – 1:30 p.m. — Live Music | Four 2 Play Band

12:30 p.m. — Registration for Cardboard Boat Regatta

1:30 p.m. – 2:30 m. — Cardboard Boat Regatta

2:30 p.m. – 4 p.m. — Peach Street Revival

4 p.m. – 4:45 p.m. — Cash prize BINGO

5 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. — Live Music | Wordan Jilson Band

6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. — Live Entertainment | Borillo Entertainment

7:30 p.m. – 9 p.m. — Live Music | The Petty Nicks Experience

8:30 p.m. — Balloon glow (weather dependent)

Sunday, August 7

6:30 a.m. — Hot air balloon launch (weather permitting)

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