Wild blue yonder: Moffat County Balloon Festival promises growing fun | CraigDailyPress.com

Wild blue yonder: Moffat County Balloon Festival promises growing fun

A favorite of the area will bring with it new and old activities alike as the eighth annual Moffat County Balloon Festival takes flight from Loudy-Simpson Park.

With launches scheduled for 6:30 a.m. Saturday and Sunday morning, 25 balloons will provide a thrill for early rising spectators as they take to the skies.

While all events are weather-pending, as of midweek, the forecast calls for sunshine throughout the weekend, and organizer Randy Looper said it's unlikely either of the public launches will be interrupted.

In 2016, poor early morning weather kept the Saturday launch from taking place.

“Last year was the first time in eight years that we had to cancel a launch,” Looper said. “We should be good as long as the wind holds out.”Randy LooperOrganizer

"Last year was the first time in eight years that we had to cancel a launch," Looper said. "We should be good as long as the wind holds out."

Among the other balloon activities are the Saturday evening balloon glow as pilots remain on the ground while lighting up the night, as well as a new feature: a balloon walk-through, as participants can get up close and personal with an aircraft inflated on its side.

Returning highlights of the jam-packed Saturday include the Elevate Education 5K by Friends of Moffat County Education and Adventure Zone inflatables for bouncy family fun.

A beer garden by the local VFW, crafts and food vendors, a Classic Air Medical helicopter demonstration and the Colorado Cruisers Classic Car Show also will be available.

New this year are performances by Nakai Native American and the Yampa Valley Young Professionals softball tournament, as well as displays by Steamboat Springs' We're Not Clowns Juggling and Comedy Troupe, which Looper described as "hilarious and fantastic."

New Mexico's N Company Band will take the stage in the afternoon, leading up to headlining group, Bluffett, a tribute band themed after tropical rocker Jimmy Buffett.

"Out of all the Buffett bands out there, they're the best," Looper said.

Admission is free for the weekend, which regularly attracts crowds of several thousand as one of Northwest Colorado's signature happenings.

"By far it's the biggest and best year ever," Looper said. "It's a great weekend, full day of free activities."

For more information, visit mcballoonfestival.com.

2017 Moffat County Balloon Festival schedule

Friday

5 p.m. Adventure Zone inflatables

6 p.m. Pilot and car show dinner

7:30 p.m. Pilot briefing

Saturday

6:30 a.m. Hot air balloon launch

7 a.m. Elevate Education 5K Run/Walk and One-Mile Fun Run by Friends of Moffat County Education

7 to 10 a.m. Pancake breakfast

7:30 a.m. Colorado Cruisers Classic Car Show registration

8 a.m. Adventure Zone inflatables

8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Yampa Valley Young Professionals Balls Out softball tournament

9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Arts and crafts and food vendors

9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Colorado Cruisers Classic Car Show

9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Classic Air Medical helicopter tour

10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. We’re Not Clowns Juggling and Comedy Troupe

11 a.m. Beer garden by Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4265

12:30 p.m. Pie-eating contest by Village Inn

1 p.m. Nakai Native American dancers

3 p.m. Nakai Native American dancers

4 to 6 p.m. Balloon walk-through

4:30 p.m. Live music by N Company Band

6:30 p.m. Live music by Bluffett, Jimmy Buffett tribute band

8:30 p.m. Balloon glow

Sunday

6:30 a.m. Hot air balloon launch

8 a.m. Adventure Zone inflatables