09 Colorado Balloon Classic - Craig Shutt - balloon gloThe City of Colorado Springs is in final negotiations with Hot Apple Productions for a Labor Day Weekend balloon festival in Memorial Park Sept. 5-7.

“We are very happy to continue this long-standing tradition in our community and look forward to the new additions to the Labor Day event,” said Mayor Steve Bach.

Through a competitive request for proposal process, Scott Appelman submitted a proposal to continue the 38-year tradition of hot air ballooning in Colorado Springs, according to a news release sent by the city. Appelman is a past president of the Albuquerque Convention and Visitors Bureau and served on the board of the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta six years. His hot air balloon company, Rainbow Ryders, is the largest balloon company in the U.S., with more than 60 employees and offices in both Albuquerque and Phoenix, the release said.

“We are so pleased to be able to work with Hot Apple Productions to continue our wonderful Labor Day Balloon Festival.  It’s a community favorite and one of our iconic events which draws big crowds to Memorial Park every year,” said City Council Member Jan Martin.

Hot Apple’s vision for the Colorado Springs balloon event is to create a well-rounded offering for the viewing public, to include entertainment from bands, cheerleading squads and dance troupes, a car show, skydivers, vendors/concessionaires and a kid’s play area, according to the release, which added that the “festival-like atmosphere would give visitors a reason to stay and enjoy the event, even if inclement weather prevents a balloon flying activity.”

Additional event enhancements include specially-shaped balloons, pilot hospitality and VIP/sponsor activities, the release states.

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“We are thrilled to be part of continuing on this great 38- year hot air balloon event tradition at Memorial Park on Labor Day weekend. As a participant of the event for years and over 30 years of balloon event management and participation, we have assembled a team of local balloonists that will further the legacy of this great event here in the City of Colorado Springs,” Appelman said.


  1. I would like to apply to name the festival. My birthday is always labor day weekend and I have wanted to ride a balloon since i was a little girl going to the lake. I have already posted what name i chose on the kktv facebook page and i already got the most likes now im afraid if somebody might steal it…help me please!!

  2. I’m as excited as the next person about having a balloon event over Labor Day weekend. What I don’t understand is all the excitement around having bands, cheerleading squads, dance troupes, car show, skydivers, vendors/concessionaires and kid’s play area which will give visitors a reason to stay and enjoy the event even in inclement weather. Let’s not forget the past balloon festivals had most of that so it’s not anything new and I was one of the hundreds that exited the park in inclement weather and I won’t be hanging around in inclement weather in the future!! If the last organizer had $90,000 from the LART committee, they may have been able to pull in more speciality shaped balloons!

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