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The Spirit of Boise Balloon Classic will fly over City of Trees

The 25th “Spirit of Boise Balloon Classic” will launch from Ann Morrison Park from Wednesday, Aug. 31, to Sunday, Sept. 4.
The 25th “Spirit of Boise Balloon Classic” will launch from Ann Morrison Park from Wednesday, Aug. 31, to Sunday, Sept. 4. Idaho Statesman file

The Spirit of Boise Balloon Classic will soar over the Treasure Valley from the “Balloon Port” at Ann Morrison Park. Over five days, you’ll see balloons overhead as 50 pilots from across the nation converge on Boise. It’s fun to look up into the morning sky and see colorful baubles dancing over the Boise Foothills and dipping into the river.

The tradition of balloons in Boise goes back to the early 1970s when Balloon Classic producer and professional pilot Scott Spencer first started floating over his hometown. He founded his company Lighter Than Air America in Boise and from here he and wife, Laurie, have built their career flying balloons for Coca-Cola, Disney, Kellogg’s and other corporations.

Spirit of Boise Balloon Classic schedule

▪  Wednesday, Aug. 31, Kid’s Day: About 20 balloonists will offer free, short, tethered rides to kids. This has become one of the most popular events, with more than 2,000 kids showing up for rides each year.

▪  Thursday, Sept. 1, Media Day: This first official launch day marks Spencer’s 122nd balloon launch from Ann Morrison since he began in the 1970s. About 30 balloons are slated to fly.

▪  Friday, Sept. 2, morning VIP Day: and launch and the annual Nite Glow Spectacular at 6 p.m. with pilot parade and 25 balloons that will start glowing at dusk (about 8:15 p.m.). Bring your own picnic or purchase food on site at this alcohol-free event. Groove to the Big Wow Band.

▪  Saturday, Sept. 3, Governor’s Cup Competition: Balloons launch and pilots undertake navigational tasks to try and earn the Governor’s Cup for Aviation Excellence.

▪  Sunday, Sept. 4, Last Dance / Great Launch: Nearly 50 balloons will attempt to leave the ground in less than 60 seconds. (The special-shaped balloons will not be part of this launch.) Get your cameras ready.

Balloons launch between 7 and 7:15 a.m. at Ann Morrison Park, 1000 N. Americana Blvd., Boise. SpiritOfBoise.com. All launches are contingent upon weather.

Balloon watching dos and don’ts

▪  Do get up early. Make sure you have time to park, walk and find a spot to view the show. Launches start around 7 a.m.

▪  Do dress in layers. It’s chilly that early in the morning.

▪  Do bring something to sit on. The grass will be wet.

▪  Do talk to the balloon pilots and their crews. They’re a wacky, fun bunch of folks who like to meet new people.

▪  Don’t smoke. Seems like a no-brainer, but remember — fire bad.

▪  Don’t bring your dogs. Balloon burners make a high-pitched noise that you may not hear but that drives your pups nuts.

▪  Don’t walk on the balloons. A tiny tear can spell disaster in the air.

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