The Labor Day Lift Off in Colorado Springs

Hot air balloons of all shapes and sizes fill the air above Colorado Springs’ Prospect Lake.

A single hot air ballon in front of Pikes Peak
One of the Labor Day Lift Off hot air balloons takes to the air in front of Pikes Peak.

For over 40 years Colorado Springs residents have celebrated the Labor Day weekend with three days of hot air balloons. This event is known rather poetically as The Labor Day Lift Off. Over the next three days, the entire town will seemingly come out to Memorial Park to celebrate in the activities. Live music, water sport demonstrations and of course hot air balloons are all a part of this family friendly event. Parking is difficult… nearly impossible actually and the crowds are thick, but there is something magical about looking over a field of giant balloons as they take to the air.

The Ballons of the Labor Day Lift Off

The size of the balloons at the Labor Day Lift Off
The Old Lady in the Shoe balloon towered above Memorial Park.

The Labor Day Lift Off has hot air Balloons of all shapes, sizes and designs. They come from all over the country to take part in this Labor Day tradition. Get to the park early to watch as these massive, creative balloons take shape from flat pieces of canvas to hot air filled behemoths.The size of the balloons at the Labor Day Lift Off

A Dip into Prospect Lake

It is a tradition for the hot air balloons to dip their baskets into Prospect Lake. This balloon didn’t actually have a basket so he dipped himself in.

I have been to this event three times. In the early morning you can watch as the balloons fill and then take to the air. One by one the balloons take turns descending and dipping their baskets into Memorial Park’s Prospect Lake. This is a tradition that on a still, reflective morning creates a very memorable sight.

The Old Lady in the Shoe hot air balloon dominates the sky above Prospect Lake.

The Balloon Glow

The flame of a hot air balloon
One of the hot air balloon jets that lights up Memorial Park for the Balloon Glow.

If early mornings aren’t your thing or you just like the night, come back after the sun sets to watch as the field of balloons light up the night in what is known as the Balloon Glow. This is like watching Chinese lanterns only super sized. It is surprisingly peaceful to sit and watch the massive flames shoot up into the balloons… even with the immense crowds.

Labor Day Lift Off Balloon Glow
The hot air balloons look like giant lanterns lighting up the night during the traditional Balloon Glow.

Making Plans to Visit the Labor Day Lift Off

The activities start the Friday morning before Labor Day so make plans to get out and be a part of this tradition. You can check out the Labor Day Lift Off website for a full list of this year’s activities. If you can’t make it this year start planning your visit for next year. I recommend looking for parking to the east side of Memorial Park… that is where I have the most luck. (Wait, no, go to the west!)

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