The annual Labor Day Liftoff is a fun way to spend the day or evening during this holiday weekend. It has been going on for over 40 years, and is held at Memorial Park in Southeast/downtown Colorado Springs.
The event is really a three day affair, starting Saturday morning at 6:30 am, with the first sunrise liftoff of balloons – This year there were approximately 60 balloons here ready to launch. The schedule involves three consecutive morning liftoffs and two “Balloon Glows” at 7:30 pm on Saturday and Sunday nights.
Sadly, if the weather doesn’t cooperate, the balloons may simply inflate and remain on the ground for display or not even inflate at all, if winds are too gusty and create a fire danger to the balloons and spectators.
The latter possibility is what happened on the Saturday we went to see the spectacle. When they can’t even inflate the balloons, the organizers and balloonists offer the thousands of eager attendees fuel burn offs, first single balloons, then coordinated group burns.
There was also a chainsaw carving competition and auction – We stopped and watched guys carving eagles, bears and what looked like some kind of totem before we moved on to the balloon field.
The Labor Day Lift Off is not just a bunch of balloons and people standing around them in a field, however. There are multiple vendors: food, including a vegan booth (Yes, there was kettle corn, and yes, we bought some – Duh!), arts & crafts, games, public services/businesses, an activity area for kids and a bandstand with continuous live music. Suga Bear and the Showtime Band, a local R&B/Funk/Motown group was performing when we attended on Saturday.
People seemed to be having a good time and nobody appeared to be upset or overly disappointed about the weather/balloon grounding, but just took it in stride. Maybe it’s a Colorado thing? We’ll absolutely go again to see the glow and take our lawn chairs, plenty of water (and money for kettle corn)!