Moffat County Hot Air Balloon Festival to return Aug. 7-8 |

Moffat County Hot Air Balloon Festival to return Aug. 7-8

After being postponed in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Moffat County Hot Air Balloon Festival makes its triumphant return in 2021

A hot air ballon flies above the Yampa River in Moffat County. (Craig Press File)

Following a one-year hiatus, the ever-popular Moffat County Hot Air Balloon Festival is scheduled to make its return to Moffat County Aug. 7-8 at Loudy-Simpson Park.

This year’s free festival will be the 11th version of the Balloon Festival in Moffat County.

“It’s fantastic that we’re back this year,” said Randy Looper. “The pilots are thrilled that we’re having it again this year as other festivals still aren’t happening yet. So, they’re thrilled to come back and fly the Yampa Valley. It’s a great valley to fly, it’s a fun event with a relaxed atmosphere. They can float the river, tour Craig, and really enjoy themselves here.

“They love coming here, which is one of the reasons we’re bigger than Steamboat’s festival.”

The balloon festival is shooting for roughly 30 pilots this year. To date, the festival has 19 pilots, Looper said.

“We’re hoping for 30 pilots this year, but we’re not sure if we’ll get that many with everyone coming back,” Looper said. “Our goal has always been 30 pilots, but we’ve been somewhere between 28-37 pilots the previous 3 years. When we get up to 36 to 37, it gets more complicated. Thirty feels like a good number for us as an event.”

Along with the balloon festival and its pilots, live music will be provided by a handful of bands at the two-day event. The Long Run, an Eagles’ Tribute Band from Denver, will headline the event, while Southside Highway, Randy Burghardt and Buffalo Commons will also perform in Craig.

Additionallly, the Colorado Cruisers have big plans for their car show this year with competitive Semi entries, in addition to their classic and muscle cars and motorcycles. The car show will host Show and Shine on Aug. 7 with check-in and registration from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m., and the car show from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. All vehicles are welcome.

The festival will also feature the Second Annual Cardboard Boat Regatta, along with the Northwest Colorado Health rubber duck race, and many other fun events.

“The other neat thing is that the bands and the cardboard boat regatta are going to be huge this year,” Looper said. “Those will be a lot of fun for the crowds to experience. We’re just really looking forward to the festival this year. It should be a great time.”

If you are a retail or food vendor and would like to be part of this great event, you can find the applications online at or contact Maggie St. John at 970-629-1367.

Managing Editor Joshua Carney can be reached at 970-875-1790 or

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