CREEDE— For the past nine years, the Creede Balloon Festival has been filling the sky with colorful balloons and welcoming pilots from New Mexico and Colorado. “Most of our pilots are returning pilots that love coming here to this balloon festival because of the small-town atmosphere and the smaller crowds. It makes it so much easier for them to enjoy a morning in the sky,” said balloon festival secretary Linda Van Der Starre.
The festival begins when the pilots come to town with their balloons in tow on Thursday (Aug. 29) “We typically have a dinner and a meeting where the pilots can sit down and set the tone for the weekend. They review weather patterns and look at how they want to fly for the next three day,” continued Van Der Starre.
The first take off happens Friday morning. Those who wish to come out and watch the balloons take flight need to be there at 7 a.m. “Every flight depends on the weather before they can take off. The reason we don’t do it in the evening is because at that point the wind is too strong. Even if there is a slight breeze, that is too much for the balloons.”
The flights will occur, weather permitting, every day at 7 a.m. On Saturday, guests are encouraged to come out and enjoy breakfast that will be provided by the Mineral County Emergency Service teams. Mineral County Fire Department, EMS and Search and Rescue will be serving biscuits and gravy Saturday and then a full pancake breakfast on Sunday.
“We love having the emergency service people out there with us in the morning. It makes it such a fun way to start the day before the rest of the activities start up in town. Not to mention that is a great way for them to raise some more funding for the new building they are trying to build down here by the airport.”
The pilots give out tickets to several sponsors around town for people to purchase who want to take a ride in one of the balloons. “We have several sponsors that are given tickets to sell. Some of them sell them and others keep them and bring them down to the festival in the morning for people to purchase. All proceeds from the sales go to help with the restoration of the Creede Sunnyside Chapel.”
“This is really a great family event that is not overwhelming and is enjoyed by everyone who gets up early to come join us and we can’t thank all of our volunteers enough. Most of the board comes from the Mountain Views RV Park and Resort. We kinda joke and call ourselves the heat chickens because the minute Arizona hits 100 degrees, we run like chickens,” laughed Van Der Starre.
A huge thanks goes out to the following sponsors for their continued support of the Creede Balloon Festival: Kay and Frank Yeager, Antlers Riverside Resort, Wason Ranch, Mountain Views RV Park and Resort, Colorado RV Center, Monte Vista Co-op, Touchstone Energy and Dragonfly Big Country.