31st Annual Telluride Balloon Festival
“If you hold my hand we’ll chase your dream across the sky/For we can fly, we can fly” (Fifth Dimension’s “Up, Up and Away,” 1967)
Icarus tried it, but he got too close to the sun and crashed. Peter Procopio has had lots more success flying.
“When I lived in New York, I raced sailboats, but there’s not a lot of water around Gallup. I had never seen a hot air balloon until one flew over my home one fine day. I chased it, met the owners and learned to fly in 1978.”
Procopio and his colleagues return to town this weekend for the 31st annual Telluride Balloon Festival, Thursday, June 5 – Sunday, June 8.
“ I guess the appeal is the wonderful feeling of drifting along with the breeze,” said Procopio. “We’ve all had dreams of flying or floating. Balloon pilots make those dreams come true. Like sailing, ballooning has everything to do with the wind and being out in nature, which I love. Ballooning is also very social: you meet people from all over the world and get to visit lots of wonderful places like Telluride.”
This year, participating pilots are from Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah and most have been flying in this event for many years.
The weekend begins Friday morning, June 6, with inflation demos for Telluride’s Intermediate School fifth-graders, who get a hands-on learning experience about how to put a hot air balloon together for flight and how it all works.
Saturday and Sunday, weather permitting, balloons will inflate and fly from Town Park, at about 6:30 a.m. Young Life members will be selling coffee, hot chocolate and other goodies starting at 6 a.m. to help keep on-lookers warm while enjoying the action on the field and in the air.
Saturday evening Main Street/Colorado Avenue will be closed between Aspen and Willow Streets beginning at 6 p.m. until 10 p.m. for the Main Street GLO. Although the event is always dependent on the weather – too much wind turns everything off – when it does happen, the GLO provides amazing photo opportunities and fun for the whole family as balloons inflate, showing off a rainbow of colors against the night sky and illuminating the town’s beautiful historic buildings.
For those who want to learn how to take great pictures of the hot air balloons using cell phones and fancier cameras, balloon photographer Paul DeBerjeois is offering a free photo workshop at downstairs at Christ Church, 434 W. Columbia.
Volunteers are always welcome to help pilots with inflation. Call festival director Marilyn Branch, 970-708-2202. (But you will need to be at Town Park at 6 a.m. Saturday and/or Sunday morning.)
UPDATE: Saturday June 7th – A beautiful morning for ballooning:
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