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Eye On Boise

Wed., Aug. 29, 2012, 12:35 p.m.

Annual balloon rally to fill Boise skies with color

Hot-air balloons lift off from Boise's Ann Morrison Park in 2011 (Betsy Russell)
Hot-air balloons lift off from Boise's Ann Morrison Park in 2011 (Betsy Russell)

It's that time of year again, when the Spirit of Boise Balloon Classic draws dozens of brightly colored hot-air balloons to Boise for mass morning launches at Ann Morrison Park. Nearly 40 balloons are expected to participate by this weekend. This morning, about 18-20 balloonists gathered in the park and inflated their balloons, but unfavorable wind conditions - with winds gusting 20 mph at 1,000 feet and reported at 30 mph early on in Ontario - stopped the launch. "We didn't fly today," said Kevin Godwin of Peak Broadcasting. "We just didn't want to take the chance." Still, the balloons inflated, and several gave tethered rides to about 50 feet up. (This photo is from last year's event.)

With a small cold front moving through today, better weather is expected tomorrow and through the weekend, with "nice crisp mornings, and that's what we like to fly in," Godwin said. Tomorrow through Sunday, the balloons are scheduled to launch around 7 a.m. Specialty balloons that will participate include the Mickey Mouse "Happiest Balloon on Earth" from Disneyland, and the POW/MIA Freedom Flight Balloon from St. Cloud, Minn.

The public is invited to see the big balloons close-up in the park at their morning launches; food and coffee vendors will be there too, and activities will include military fly-overs and balloon flight competitions. On Saturday night, there'll be a free concert and "Nite Glow" event from 6-9:30; that's when the inflated balloons, on the ground, light up in a colorful display. For more information, go to

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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