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Hi, I'm Tamera, a professional wedding, portrait and boudoir photographer in Colorado Springs. But this blog isn't about my professional work; no, it's a daily love note to my beautiful city, where I've lived for most of my life. I love it here and I hope you enjoy seeing Colorado Springs through my eyes and lens!

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06 September 2014

Saying farewell to the Colorado Balloon Classic

Every Labor Day weekend, colorful balloons fill Memorial Park, and thousands of locals flock to enjoy the show. The unique and spectacular three-day event known as the Colorado Balloon Classic has been a huge part of our local culture for 38 years. Living in the neighborhood where it takes place, Pat and I have more than a few stories of glancing skyward and being surprised by a giant balloon floating silently, directly overhead, so close you could almost touch it. All of us who live near the park take joy in seeing them fill the sky. Sadly, the tradition apparently ended last weekend, as the Colorado Balloon Classic abruptly announced its plans to cease holding their event in Colorado Springs. This has been a huge blow to Colorado Springs. I think it's safe to say the the vast majority of us are saddened and dismayed by the news. Very little explanation has been given. A brief  "special announcement" was posted on their webpage, with the following tersely worded statement: "Due to politics within the city, increasingly rigid special event procedures and an onerous LART (city sponsorhip) application, both Colorado Springs Balloon Classic, Inc. (parent company) and Colorado Balloon Classic (local company) have elected to not apply for any 2015 Colorado Springs event permits." (You can read the entire thing HERE, if you're curious, though there's not much to read.) There was quite a bit of coverage about it in the news, but not a lot of information.

The Balloon Classic always kicks off on Friday night with the Balloon Glow, a tremendously popular local favorite. The balloonists wait until darkness falls, then inflate their balloons and keep them glowing with propane. It's positively magical. Today's blog pictures aren't mine; they were taken by my cousin's husband, Tyson Monroe. On Friday evening as I drove home from my studio, I could see record crowds turning out for the Balloon Glow (in fact, it was a bit of a challenge to get to my house!), and I had every intention of joining them. But when I got home, Pat was fast asleep, and I didn't have the heart to wake him. Not wanting to walk to the park alone, I decided to just stay home and ask friends for pictures. Thankfully, many of my friends had gone to the Balloon Glow and Tyson was nice enough to let me use his wonderful images. Thank you Tyson!

I didn't have a chance to go to the 2014 Balloon Classic at all, since I had a wedding to shoot in Vail, over two hours away, so unfortunately I missed my last chance to witness this enchanting event. But I have many happy memories of attending it in past years, and hopefully so do many other Colorado Springs citizens. What's next for the Colorado Balloon Classic? No one knows. Perhaps it will be relocated to another town in Colorado, or perhaps (hoping against hope!), they will iron out their differences with the city of Colorado Springs and have a change of heart. I sincerely hope so! I am very saddened by this turn of events. It truly feels like we've lost a huge part of our identity here in Colorado Springs.

For more on this year's Balloon Classic, including lots of pictures, click HERE.


Gunn said...

SUPERB images!
What a great event!

Tamera said...

Thank you Gunn, I didn't take the pictures, but I will let the person who took them know how much you appreciated them!

from Madrid said...

Only a word, beautiful !


Bibi said...

Beautiful photos of a fun event....but I'm waaaay too scared to go up in one.

Birdman said...

These are very cool. Lewiston, in state here. puts on quite a balloon show in August too.

William Kendall said...

Beautuful shots, but such a shame they're letting it go. We have a festival here on the Quebec side of the river, but I never seem to get over there for it.

Lois said...

That really is too bad Tamera. I would be disappointed too. The pictures are wonderful though. I have seen a pictures of a balloon glow before on my friend Lisa's blog, Telluride Daily Photo. They have a balloon festival every year there and I think it is in June.

Randy said...

What fun. Nice shots too.