Telluride Balloon Fest 2018: Up, Up & Away, 6/1 – 6/3

Telluride Balloon Fest 2018: Up, Up & Away, 6/1 – 6/3

Weather permitting, at the annual, very colorful Telluride Balloon Festival, dozens of hot air balloons launch from Town Park on the East End of town and sail down the valley, landing about a mile out of town. Balloons launch at sunrise; bystanders often get to help. On Saturday evening, Main Street/Colorado Avenue is closed between Aspen and Willow Streets from 6 p.m. – 10 p.m. for the 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, flashing a rainbow of colors against the night sky and illuminating Telluride’s historic buildings.

On September 19, 1783, a scientist named Pilatre De Rozier launched the first hot air balloon. “Aerostat Reveillon” stayed in the air for a grand total of 15 minutes before crashing back to earth with its passengers: a sheep, a duck, and a rooster.

The first manned attempt came two months later with a balloon made by two French brothers, Joseph and Etienne Montgolfier. Launched from the centre of Paris, the vessel flew for 20 minutes.

Fast-forward about 200 years, in 1987, Virgin tycoon Sir Richard Branson and Per Lindstrand were the first to cross the Atlantic in a hot air, rather than a helium/gas, balloon.

Four years later, the same team made it across the Pacific.

In 1999, Branson and Lindstrand attempted and failed the first around the world balloon flight. Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones made it in just under 20 days, landing in Africa and smashing all previous distance records.

The goals are less ambitious and far-reaching, but no less exciting for the pilots assembled in town for the Telluride Balloon Fest.

2018 Schedule of Events: 

June 1:

8am – Static Display with Student Participation
at Telluride Intermediate School (721 W. Colorado Ave)

June 2:

6am – Sunrise Mass Ascension
Telluride Town Park

1pm – Free Photo Workshop led by professional hot air balloon photographer Paul D. deBergeois. Learn how to take photos, even on your cell phone. Christ Presbyterian Church (434 W. Columbia Ave)

8pm, Main Street Glo. Hot air balloons will inflate for a spectacular show at dusk. Telluride Main Street (Colorado Ave)

June 3:

6am – Sunrise Mass Ascension, Telluride Town Park

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