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Labor Day Lift Off wraps up and people involved say it was a success

More than 70 hot air balloons took off from Memorial Park in Colorado Springs
Labor Day Lift Off wraps up and people involved say it was a success
Posted at 10:43 AM, Sep 04, 2023

COLORADO SPRINGS — The 47th annual Labor Day Lift Off in Colorado Springs is now in the books. News5 spoke with people involved in the final day who say this tradition in the Pikes Peak Region is still going strong.

“Take a look around. I don’t see a single person frowning or grumpy. There’s nothing but smiles as far as you can see for three days in a row,” said Greg Morrison, who is a hot air balloon pilot for Rainbow Riders Hot Air Balloon Company.

He is an Air Force veteran who learned of the excitement of hot air balloons late in life and says now that he is one of the balloon pilots at the Labor Day Lift Off, there’s nothing like it.

“I’ve been teased ever since for describing it as magical, but there’s no other way to describe it, but it really is, to be flying soundless through the air,” said Morrison.

This event that’s been going on for more than 40 years, continues to draw families from across southern Colorado who are excited to get up close to the hot air balloons from set up to take off.

“Just the family time, the good quality time together. I love seeing all the balloons, that’s the best part to me. I’ve always had an interest in them, I’m scared of heights so I’ll never get in one, but I think it’s really cool,” said Dillon Whittier, who brought his family up from Pueblo.

The hot air balloons lifting off from Memorial Park can be seen from areas across the Pikes Peak Region, but being in the park when they lift off is a memorable experience that keeps people coming back.

“They are definitely a lot bigger than they look. When you see them up in the air they look tiny, but when you get up close they are the size of a building. It’s insane,” said Whittier.

While not everybody is a fan of crowds, seeing this kind of a turnout year after year is meaningful because it shows this is an event that people want to support and be a part of for years to come.

“That’s exactly what it is. It’s just keeping it alive. Bringing everybody out here so they can carry it on. Tell their kids about it and their kid’s kids and just to keep the tradition going honestly,” said Whittier.

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