Spirit of Boise Balloon Classic

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to soar in the open air above the valley? Have you ever gazed in wonder at a brilliantly colored hot air balloon? Or marveled at a balloon's dazzling light in the dark sky? These are sensations that takeover those who witness the Spirit of Boise Balloon Classic. This event is a great and iconic Boise tradition. Every year in the end of August, balloon enthusiasts from all around gather to Boise's landmark Ann Morrison Park to launch their beautiful balloons.

The Boise Balloon Classic began in 1991 by Scott and Laurie Spencer as a part of the Boise River Festival. It gradually grew into what it is today: a five day festival that brings a life to the City of Boise that is like none other.

Wednesday and Thursday mornings the pilots rev up their engines and inflate their massive balloons and fly high above Boise. They meander around for a few hours and come back down to join the rest of the fun on the ground. Friday night is the special Nite Glow event. Starting around sunset, the pilots take their balloons up into the sky and light up the night like fireflies.

The purpose of the show is pretty simple: to experience the exhilaration of flying and to give the people of the Treasure Valley a good show. When you come to the Classic, there are a few rules one must adhere to.

Obviously, it is prohibited to enter into any or tamper with any of the ballooning gear. It is also prohibited, very strictly, to not walk on any balloon as it is laid on the grass as this can cause an accident and possibly kill pilot and crew. One of the odd rules of the classic is to not bring any pets, leashed or unleashed. The reason for this is because the burners emit a high pitched noise that we, as humans, cannot hear. It is, however, extremely painful to animals.

Many tourists and local residents come to the Spirit of Boise Balloon Classic, two in particular are a pair of German brothers. Their names are Mike and Jurgen and they visit a place and live there for three months. When they came to Idaho, it was during the Balloon Classic and they had the amazing opportunity to ride in one of the amazing balloons. Here is what they had to say about it: "We were at the Spirit of Boise Balloon Classic, and had just met our pilot for the day. He introduced us to his team, which included his wife Tara, and then put us to work preparing the balloon...Setting up the balloon was a lot of fun, and enough work to keep the eight members of our team busy. After filling it with air, it was time for Jurgen and I to step into the basket. At this point, the butterflies seriously began tickling my stomach - I was just about to fret to Jurgen about the take-off, when I realized that we were already airborne. It had been so smooth, I hadn't even noticed leaving the ground. The whole trip, in fact, was more serene than I had expected. We were just floating; there was nothing the least bit jerky or jarring about it. It was amazing. This had been something I'd always wanted to experience, and now here we were, soaring above Boise." They go on to explain how their pilot could control the balloon's altitude by adding or releasing heat. He could direct the balloon by putting it at different altitudes which had wind blowing in different directions.

The Classic an amazing tradition and a great adventure for many people. It was created, again, by Scott and Laurie Spencer. Scott Spencer has been involved with hot air balloons for a long time. Not only is he the creator of the Boise Balloon Classic, but he also is the founder of Lighter Than Air America.

The Lighter Than Air America Incorporated is the leading operator of commercial, corporate, and advertising balloons in America. They have done events and things with Disney, Imax and more. They really are the head of the ballooning totem pole. With the new Disney movie "Oz the Great and Powerful", which featured a hot air balloon, Spencer and his team was contracted to do a "Journey to Oz Balloon Tour". The balloon appeared at the movies premier, Disneyland Resort in California, New York and Daytona Beach.