The balloons are coming; 36th annual Colorado Balloon Classic gets underway

Set up for the 36th annual Colorado Balloon Classic began Thursday as planners of the event brace for 250,000 spectators.

Colorado Balloon Classic event planner Heather Benavidez said they are expecting 80 balloons to fill the sky this Labor Day weekend, in what they dub the largest air show in the state.

The event is held in Memorial Park, off Pikes Peak Avenue between Hancock Avenue and Union Boulevard near the shores of Prospect Lake. Mass ascensions of dozens of balloons are scheduled for Saturday, Sunday and Monday mornings with a Balloon Glo scheduled for Saturday and Sunday evenings.

The weekend weather forecast calls for temperatures in the 80s and low wind speeds. Last year, the first morning of the balloon classic was cancelled due to high wind speeds.

“Everything is looking really good,” Benavidez said.

The annual event features 100 vendors and three mass ascensions. It takes a year of planning and about 1,000 volunteers to pull it off. But, the event packs a multi-million punch to the local economy. The Crowne Plaza Hotel, the host hotel of the event, is booked solid, Benavidez said.