Look, ride ’em at Arizona Balloon Classic

There is something majestic about seeing hot air balloons inflate and fly away. The scene often brings out a childlike exuberance in the viewers.

During the Arizona Balloon Classic, observers can see up to 25 hot air balloons of varying sizes and shapes, such as a koala. The festival, organized by Arizona Events Group, is in its 11th year and will take place Jan. 28-30 at Goodyear.

The festival was held in April last year, but the hot and windy weather made it impossible to fly and shine large-scale balloons. Arizona Events Group President and CEO Tim Matykiewicz said January offers better conditions.

“It’s perfect weather for hot air balloons, perfect for flying in the morning and perfect for flying in the late afternoon, but during the day it’s a bit windy,” says Matykiewicz. “They are hot air instruments. They only work when it’s cool.

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What to expect at the Arizona Balloon Classic

A mix of new and returning drivers will compete in the event. They are helped by teams of volunteers who learn how to set up, inflate, take down and drive a hot air balloon.

On Saturday and Sunday mornings, pilots will participate in Hare and Hound races, during which they drop beanbags with streamers at targets. The four drivers who come closest to the middle of the targets win cash prizes totaling $2,500.

Also on Saturday and Sunday mornings, participants will be able to see the balloons up close as they inflate and take flight. Matykiewicz said attendees can learn how hot air balloons work.

Pilots from across the country participate in the Arizona Balloon Classic.

A hot air balloon, which consists of a basket, an envelope and a burner, flies through a process in which the air inside the balloon is heated and rises. The balloon then becomes lighter than the outside air and can float in the sky.

“Kids get an idea of ​​how big this flame is, look at the colors, look at how high it gets. It’s a great experience to be near a hot air balloon,” said Matykiewicz.

Many families arrive early in the morning to fully experience the experience.

“More and more families are coming out, picking up the kids, wrapping them all up to watch them set up the balloon, inflate the balloon and then watch it fly away,” Matykiewicz said.

Hot air balloons will glow to music on Friday, and pilots will produce different colors of flames in a parade of pilots on Saturday as part of the Desert Glow festivities.

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Also happening: Desert Winds Kite Festival

For the second year, My Wind Stuff will be holding kite demonstrations at the corresponding Desert Winds Kite Festival, which takes place during the day on Saturday and Sunday. My Wind Stuff is run by Curt and Kendra Giebler, who take their RV around the country to host kite and balloon events.

During the kite festival, the company will showcase large-scale kites and windsocks, including the 50ft Mega Fish Kite. Their largest kite, the Rieleit, measures 75 feet by 15 feet, making it larger than a tractor-trailer.

Flying these kites on a large scale at a festival takes some preparation.

“You have to tie them to something, unwind the line, tie the kite, pull the kite against the line and let it go. You can’t fly them all at once. They’ll drag you across the country,” Curt Giebler said.

The company will also offer candy cannons with prizes, paper rocket making and launching, and parachute races.

Kites made by Premier Kites and Designs will be for sale. The selection ranges from simple frameless, one-line kites to more complex two-line and four-line stunt kites.

Giebler said kites are easier to fly than most people think because they don’t require racing.

“It doesn’t matter if you are 2 years old or 102 years old, if you are in a wheelchair and can’t run, you can put a good quality kite in your hand and have a good experience. All this what you have to do is put the wind at your back, let some line out, most of the time just let that kite out of your hand and start giving it some line,” Giebler said. .

Large groups of people will simultaneously fly kites during the event.

“Families get involved. The children get involved. Everybody is flying kites, and the next thing you know, you have 500 kites in the sky, and you just colored the sky,” Giebler said.

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More things to do at the Arizona Balloon Classic

Visitors can enjoy fireworks on Saturday evening, hot air balloons and tethered rides on all three days, laser shows on Friday and Saturday, inflatables, climbing wall, zipline, chance to see the Dino Crew, a Sunday car show, BMX bike demos and bands and dance groups.

Hot air balloon flights, offered by Aerogelic Ballooning, must be booked in advance. Captive rides are $25 per person and can be purchased at the festival. This year there will be more hot air balloons and longer hours for captive rides.

Vendors will sell balloon-themed items, home improvement and decor items, jewelry, light-up toys, and health and wellness products.

As part of Taste of the Classic, attendees can purchase barbecue, burgers, hot dogs, lobster, pizza, and funnel cake. Beer and wine will be available.

The Arizona Events Group will donate a portion of ticket and beverage sales to Valley of the Sun United Way, which provides food, healthcare programs, housing resources and education to people in the need. Over the past three years, Arizona Events Group has donated over $20,000 to Valley of the Sun United Way.

Arizona Classic Ball

When: 4pm-9pm on Friday 28 January; 7am-9pm Saturday January 29; 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, January 30.

Or: Goodyear Ballpark, 1933 S. Ballpark Way.

Admission: $25 Friday or Saturday general admission, $10 Sunday general admission, $12 for 55 and over, free for children 12 and under, active military, veterans and first responders. There are additional fees for some activities. Parking is $5.

Details: abcfest.com.

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