Written by: Michael Purser
All Seasons Resort Lodging cannot wait to officially celebrate the season with the annual Autumn Aloft Balloon Festival! This beloved Park City tradition entices visitors from both near and far to step out in the early morning chill to partake in this mystical—yet ephemeral—ballooning experience.
When: September 15 and 16. Launches start at 9:00 a.m. each morning
Where: 2530 Kearns Blvd, North 40 Fields, Park City, Utah
When: September 15th / 8:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Where: Main Street between 4th and 5th streets
To help prepare for the magic—and the early-morning lift off time—we asked festival organizer Meisha Ross five questions covering everything from the Candlestick Event to the top secret balloons that will soon grace the skies above Park City!
How has the development of Summit County and the rise of national and international tourism in Park City impacted the Festival over these past 30 years?
The festival ran for about 10 years beginning in the mid-80s through the mid-90s. The event didn’t take place for nearly 20 years. The event relaunched in 2014.
I understand that Autumn Aloft went on a hiatus for some time. What did it take to lift the festival off the ground again in 2014?
The event of the 80s and 90s took place in a different location. In order to relaunch the event, we worked very closely with PCMC to coordinate launch locations and approved landing areas. We continue to work closely with Park City to mitigate the impacts of the event.
As the “Classiest Hot Air Balloon Festival in the Word” are there strict criteria for Balloonists to be invited to participate in Autumn Aloft, or is it an open invitation? Are attendees mostly local/regional balloonists, or is this event widely attended by a more diverse group?
The criteria are more centered around pilot ability and talent. Balloons typically fly outside of Park City proper, so it is an honor for balloonists to be able to fly inside City Limits. Due to development in Park City landing areas are limited.
Tell us more about the candlestick event on Main Street following day one of Autumn Aloft. The Candlestick on Main Street includes eight baskets and their burners.
The pilots ignite the burners and spectators are able to see how powerful the balloon flame is. The event is called a Candlestick because the burners look like candles when they are pulled. The event takes place on Main Street between 4th and 5th streets from 8:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Any special or zany balloons to keep an eye out for this year? Do you have a personal favorite?
That is top secret. You’ll have to attend to see which special shapes will be at the event.
There you have it! We are two weeks out from lift off, and our anticipation is rising. Remember to set your alarms early to secure parking, a piping hot cup of joe, and a perfect viewing spot! For more information on Autumn Aloft, or to get involved as a sponsor or volunteer, click here!