Friday, February 21, 2014

No hot air: Balloon Classic finds a rival for Colorado Springs

Posted By on Fri, Feb 21, 2014 at 4:37 PM

click to enlarge The Colorado Balloon Classic's now entering its 38th year locally. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • The Colorado Balloon Classic's now entering its 38th year locally.

Colorado Balloon Classic
organizers have a message for Colorado Springs: Balloons float, you dig?

For an event that's about as serene and family-friendly as they come — marked by dozens of hot-air balloons inflated over Labor Day weekend in Memorial Park — the Balloon Classic sure had a tumultuous 2013. In a surprise move late last spring, Colorado Springs city government attempted to pass on new costs for street barricades, extra police and more to the group behind "Colorado's largest air show." Those organizers cried foul, said it was not the first time the city had tried to squeeze them, and made noise about possibly pulling the then-37-year-old tourist magnet out of the Springs.

A community meeting revealed public sentiment squarely in the ballooners' corner, and before long, the city kicked in some more of its own money after all. Balloons floated and glo-ed as planned.

In October, organizers sent out an announcement that the event would return to Memorial Park for 2014. And you could be forgiven if you thought the story was over; an email sent out Friday by the event organizer hints that you weren't alone.

"In a move that has caught many people by surprise," it reads, "Colorado Springs Balloon Classic, Inc. has signed a deal with Create Canon City to create a 2nd Balloon Classic for 2014."

In a case that could be viewed as a coincidence, or a simple case of more balloons being better balloons, Fremont Economic Development Corp. and Create Canon City executive director Rob Brown is quoted as follows in an accompanying press release:
“Create Canon City created an opportunity to have six hot air balloons for the first year of the festival. If it's a success, a full-fledged festival will be planned for 2015, and if that's a success, Fremont County will be able to compete for the Colorado Springs Classic.”
The Cañon City event will take place over Memorial Day weekend, May 24-26, at the Winery at Holy Cross Abbey. Here's the full release:
Colorado Springs Balloon Classic signs deal with Create Canon City

In a move that has caught many people by surprise, Colorado Springs Balloon Classic, Inc. has signed a deal with Create Canon City to create a 2nd Balloon Classic for 2014.

This newly created festival, named Create Canon City Balloon Classic (CCCBC), is
scheduled for Memorial Day Weekend, May 24, 25, 26, 2014.

Rob Brown, Executive Director of Fremont Economic Development Corp. (FEDC) and of Create Canon City, unveiled the announcement on Thursday, Feb. 13th, during the FEDC’s annual dinner. "A lot of things have been accomplished that we've been trying to get done for several years," he said. “Create Canon City created an opportunity to have six hot air balloons for the first year of the festival. If it's a success, a full-fledged festival will be planned for 2015, and if that's a success, Fremont County will be able to compete for the Colorado Springs Classic.”

Patsy Buchwald, President of Colorado Springs Balloon Classic, Inc. says she and her company are excited to work with such a forward thinking group. “Both FEDC and Create Canon City recognize the economic impact a hot air balloon festival can have on their region and the joy it brings to both families and community. We are honored to help produce this festival for them.”

The main activities of the CCCBC including the balloon launch are scheduled to be held at The Abbey, an unique and historic setting in downtown Canon City. Currently the festival is also set to have approximately 40 concessions, sky divers, and much more.

CREATE CAÑON CITY is a not for profit enterprise comprised of a group of local business and construction experts. Together they intend to form the nucleus of a new type of organization, specifically focused on completing projects of civic significance - all with local private funding and tradespeople.

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