Arkansas Valley Balloon Festival
1st weekend of November
Mark your calendar and plan to visit Rocky Ford and the lower Arkansas Valley every November for the only Hot Air Balloon Festival in Southeast Colorado. This annual event takes place the first weekend in November and should be included on everyone's calendar.
Balloonists from around the state converge on the city of Rocky Ford for a fun-filled three day gathering, which includes the Balloon Festival, an art show and a photo contest. On Thursday morning the Rocky Ford Lions Club sponsors a Wake Up Breakfast beginning at 6:45 a.m. at the Gobin Building, located at 105 North Main Street to get area residents and sponsors fueled up for the weekend activities.
The balloonists arrive on Friday and provide fun demonstrations at local schools and then are treated to a welcome dinner in Rocky Ford. On Saturday everyone is welcome to watch the balloons launch from the Rocky Ford High School at 100 West Washington. The gates of the launch site open at 6:00 a.m. and the pilots prepare for the first lift-off at 6:30 a.m. The chill of the frosty fall air is held at bay by the Rotary Club who serve up hot chocolate, coffee, cinnamon rolls and donuts. By early morning the skies are dotted with the bright colors of the balloons as they float above the rich autumn colors below.
Drop by the Gobin Building Thursday - Sunday from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. and check out the photo contest and the art show and sale presented by the Fine Arts League. On Saturday afternoon at the Gobin Building the pilots serve as judges for art in the ballooning category.
On Sunday the events of the previous day are repeated with an early morning lift-off and tethered rides for those who like to keep one foot on the ground. The balloonists enjoy sharing their hobby and are more than happy to visit with the spectators prior to launching.