Welcome to the Steamboat Pilot & Today Hot Air Balloon Festival
Let me start off by saying it was a tremendous honor to be your balloon meister last year, and I was so gratified the Steamboat Pilot & Today brought me back again this year.
The tremendous outpouring of love from the local community for the pilots and crews last year was literally overwhelming. Every pilot I spoke with had nothing but the highest regards for the people of Steamboat Springs and its visitors. Every pilot who was greeted upon landing thoroughly enjoyed the community interaction, with many of them taking locals for a tethered ride.
Due to the current public health restrictions, we are changing a few things this year for you to better enjoy the balloons, and keep the pilots, crews and, of course, yourselves safe and healthy.
First thing is no one but pilots, crew members and sponsors will be allowed on the launch field Saturday and Sunday morning. Having said that, we would expect that you all will enjoy these beautiful globos, as they say in Mexico, floating around your city. To that end we will be having staggered launches at approximately 6:30 a.m., 7 a.m. and 7:30 am. For you early birds, it is incredible to view the balloons as the sun is coming up over your mountains. Most of you on the south side of Steamboat will be able to view the balloons from the sanctity of your homes, balconies of condos, hotel rooms or just driving around in your cars stopping for the occasional picture. Remember, a white sheet laid out in an open area is an invitation to a pilot for an approved landing spot.
Each of these balloons is a federally registered aircraft complete with the appropriate airworthiness certificate and FAA-registered pilots and crew, most of whom are commercially rated.
I believe, now more than ever that it is important to note that each of these pilots and crews has given up their weekend to come to your lovely community without being paid to share the joy of ballooning with your incredible community, hopefully bringing some beauty into your lives.
Speaking of beauty, we will not be having an organized balloon glow in any one specific location, as in past years. Having said that, you may see pilots inflating their aircraft around town on Saturday around 7:30 p.m. As FAA registered aircraft, they have the right to inflate their aircraft anywhere they are invited. If you should see any balloons that evening, please do not interact with them for safety reasons but enjoy their static beauty from a distance or as you drive by.
We sincerely hope that you enjoy the 2020 Steamboat Pilot & Today Hot Air Balloon Rodeo, presented by Vectra Bank, because that is our reason for coming here. I personally will be looking forward to driving around and seeing all of your smiling faces.
Your balloonmeister, Doug Lenberg
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