When we first visited Boise we noticed hot air balloon photos in our hotel, restaurants and buildings around town and wondered what the heck they had to do with Boise?! It seemed so random! So if you've been wondering the same, I'm happy to share the history behind one of the best Boise traditions - The Spirit of Boise Balloon Classic.
The first official gathering of hot air balloons in Ann Morrison Park was back in 1991. 2022 is the 31st anniversary of the Scott Spencer (the name of the founder who passed away in 2020) Spirit of Boise Balloon Classic. The Spirit of Boise brings locals and tourists from across the world to Boise to enjoy a park FULL of big, colorful balloons along with music and other events.
This year's event kicks off on Wednesday, August 31st with CapEd Credit Union Kid's Day! Balloons will be inflated and tethered on the field with the opportunity for kids to learn about how they work and even take a free, tethered ride!
Thursday, September 1st is "Media Day" where Balloons will fill the park with an optional flight.
Friday, September 2nd is "VIP Day" and the annual "Nite Glow Spectacular." In the morning there will be a beautiful tribute launch in honor of Larry Gebert. The evening's activities will begin at 5:30PM with food, vendors and live music with the "Nite Glow Spectacular" lighting things up around 8PM.
Saturday, September 3rd is "Dawn Patrol" where the balloons light up and take off into the dark morning sky at 6:00AM. It's a really cool sight to see!
Sunday, September 4th is the "Last Dance" of the Spirit of Boise Balloon Classic. There'll be another Dawn Patrol and flight to end a fun weekend of events.
I highly recommend attending at least one of the Spirit of Boise events - it'll be so memorable and fun for the whole family. I promise it's worth getting everybody up wildly early for!
-Bring a waterproof blanket or chairs to sit on while you wait and watch the balloons ignite. The morning dew makes things extra soggy! Don't forget to give the balloons plenty of space to spread out and ignite... you'll be able to get really close but don't want to be in the way!
-I know it's hard to believe but the dark mornings can be pretty chilly before the sun comes up. Bring a jacket or blanket and something warm to drink.
-Leave your pups at home! There is a high pitched noise that the balloons' burners make that can hurt your dog's ears.
-Be prepared to walk a ways from wherever you find to park. There is very, very limited parking in the park during the event (and none on Friday) so you'll need to look for public parking nearby and walk into the park. Here's some parking information.
-Have fun and get ready to take some sweet pictures! You'll likely see a couple professional photographers there with couples posing for engagement photos or marketing materials! It's such a unique backdrop!
Get a preview of the amazing balloons and "meet" the pilots here. It's such a fun crew from all over the place! You can also follow along on Instagram and learn all kinds of things.
Any other pro-tips to share? Which day(s) will your family be attending?