PLEASE NOTE: THE “GLO” IS SCHEDULED FOR SATURDAY EVENING, NOT FRIDAY AS TIO ORGINALLY PUBLISHED. WE REGRET THE ERROR.
“If you hold my hand we’ll chase your dream across the sky/For we can fly, we can fly” (Fifth Dimension’s “Up, Up and Away,” 1967)
As the saying goes in ballooning: “Here’s hoping for gentle breezes and soft landings!”
Gentle was not what was happening during last week’s festival, Mountainfilm in Telluride, where, as if on cue in support of all the talks and films on climate change, Aeolus sent out a message no one could possibly miss: winds gusting to 70 miles an hour punctuated by dust storms. But perhaps, just perhaps, the weather gods will take a time out after working over time and hole up so balloons can GLO Friday on Main Street, 8:45 – 9:30 p.m.the official launch of the 29th annual Telluride Balloon Festival. Events take place Saturday, June 2 – Sunday, June 3.
The same principle that keeps food frozen in the open chest freezers at Clark’s Market allows hot air balloons to fly: hot air rises; cold air sinks. While the super-cooled air in a freezer settles down around the food, hot air in a balloon pushes up, keeping it afloat.
A hot air balloon has three major components: envelope, burner and basket. The basket is where passengers ride. The burner, positioned above passengers’ heads, produces a flame to heat the air inside the envelope. It is also the source of the glow. The colorful fabric bag, the envelope, holds the hot air. When the air inside the envelope is heated, the balloon flies. To descend, a pilot allows the air inside the envelope to cool. The balloon then becomes heavier than the air outside and sinks.
Before a balloon is launched, a pilot knows which way the wind is blowing, so he can know which way his balloon will head. Air, however, is in layers. And different layers can move in different directions. Although a pilot can’t really steer a balloon, he can move up and down to find different layers of air, allowing the balloon to change direction.
Main Street is closed to traffic Saturday night beginning around 6 p.m. (until 10 p.m.) for the GLO.
“A Glow in Telluride is unique because not only do the burners light up our beautiful balloons, they also light up all the beautiful historic buildings,” balloonmeister Peter Procopio explained to me once upon a time ago.”However, the tight space means extreme caution. Each time we inflate, we take a chance that our envelopes might hit a building or a pole.”
The morning flying (weather permitting) on Saturday and Sunday starts in the Park immediately after the pilot briefing at 6:30 a.m. In the event of no wind, spectators are invited to take tethered flights, which means floating about 100 – 150 feet off the ground. Kids are welcome.