Boise & Garden City

Boise mayor presents his highest honor to founder of an iconic yearly celebration

Scott Spencer, the man to thank for the Spirit of Boise Balloon Classic each year, received the Boise mayor’s highest honor Friday: a key to the city.

Spencer and his wife, Laurie, first organized the Spirit of Boise Balloon Classic in 1991 as a part of the Boise River Festival. It has evolved to a stand-alone event that sees more than 40 balloons launched each day for five days every summer.

Spirit of Boise’s Night Glow draws huge crowds to Ann Morrison Park to watch the balloons light up, and the morning events bring people out of bed around sunrise for a chance to watch dozens of balloons take off.

Mayor David Bieter presented Spencer with the award during a ceremony at the Boise Depot, saying the balloons have become “part of who we are as a city” as one such balloon served as a backdrop to the ceremony.

Scott Spencer received a Key to the City from Boise Mayor David Bieter in honor of his work with the balloon classic. “I doubt there’s a single Boisean who hasn’t paused early in the morning to watch one of those balloons float over the city with a smile on their face,” Bieter said. Provided by the city of Boise

“No one is more passionate about Boise than Scott Spencer,” Bieter said. “His love for this city helped him make the Spirit of Boise Balloon Classic one of Boise’s great traditions. Those five days, thanks to Scott, are a delightful summer rite for all Boiseans.”

Spencer’s key is inscribed with language thanking him “For Tireless Labors to Bring Delight and Wonder to Our City Each Summer; And Helping to Define and Foster the True ‘Spirit of Boise.’”

Spencer has stage four colon cancer and has undergone chemotherapy.

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Hayley covers local government for the Idaho Statesman with a primary focus on Boise. Previously, she worked for the Salisbury Daily Times, the Hartford Courant, the Denver Post and McClatchy’s D.C. bureau. Hayley graduated from Ohio University with degrees in journalism and political science.If you like seeing stories like this, please consider supporting our work with a digital subscription to the Idaho Statesman.