What’s New at This Year’s Labor Day Lift Off

This year's Labor Day Lift Off promises to be the best yet, with new programming and exciting partnerships.

The Labor Day Lift Off has been one of Colorado Springs’ most loved traditions for decades. Who doesn’t love the sight of all those colorful hot air balloons filling the skies on Labor Day weekend? 

In fact, the Colorado Springs Labor Day Lift Off is ranked in the top balloon festivals in the world by US News and World Report. 

This year will be the balloon festival’s 46th annual launch, and organizers Hot Apple Productions and the Colorado Springs Sports Corporation have added new activities and events to make it the most extensive lineup of programming and partnerships yet.

The Labor Day Lift Off festivities will kick off on Sept. 3 at Memorial Park and will see the return of such beloved traditions as the balloon lift-offs and balloon glows, hot air balloon ride by Rainbow Ryders, and the annual Krispy Kreme donut eating contest. However, attendees will also see the additions of a 5K race, a second festival at Banning Lewis Ranch, VIP ticketing and more amenities and attractions. Check out what’s new at this year’s Labor Day Lift Off.

New Shapes

New balloon shapes, including Chris P. Bacon, Finley the Fish, Allycorn the Unicorn and Friendly Monster will take flight alongside returning Darth Vader, Yoda and Kermie the Frog balloons.

Some friendly faces grace the skies at Labor Day Lift Off.
Some friendly faces grace the skies at Labor Day Lift Off.

Colorado Springs Aloft

The Colorado Springs Aloft will join the festival in the Pavilion at Banning Lewis Ranch on Sept. 1 to kick off the festival with food trucks, music, family activities and balloons.

Orangetheory 5K Race

On Sept. 4 at 9 a.m., the brand-new Orangetheory 5K race kicks off at the IAFF Fallen Firefighters Memorial in Memorial Park.

VIP Experience

The festival offers an exclusive Labor Day Lift Off Lounge for those who want to experience the VIP treatment. VIP Ticket holders will enjoy complimentary food and drinks, a parking pass, and reserved seating in an exclusive area with private restrooms available on-site. Plus, VIP ticket purchasers will be entered into a drawing for two free Rainbow Ryders balloon rides. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit Eventbrite.

Balloons, Brews, and Bites Happy Hour

The Balloons, Brews and Bites Happy Hour is a great way to enjoy discounted drinks from 3:30 to 5 p.m. on Saturday or Sunday over Labor Day Weekend. The new event will also offer live music and early access to family-fun activities.

Colorful balloons take to the skies at Labor Day Lift Off. Photo courtesy of Rainbow Ryders.
Colorful balloons take to the skies at Labor Day Lift Off. Photo courtesy of Rainbow Ryders.

As for longtime favorites, daily morning balloon lift-offs will happen 7-9 a.m. with 75 balloons floating in the Colorado Springs sky. It’s the largest balloon festival in Colorado. There will also be sunset balloon glows at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 3 and Sunday, Sept. 4.

If you’ve never flown in a hot air balloon before, this could be your year. Rainbow Ryders will be offering flights daily. The check-in tent will be located at Memorial Park. Guests will fly among many balloons and each flight will be approximately 45 to 60 minutes long. Rates start at $345 per person. It’s an incomparable way to experience the Labor Day Liftoff from the sky. 

Live music lovers will enjoy a  concert series kicked off by local bands, Missy and the Dirty Secrets and Mosquito Pass, winners of the 2021 Battle of the Bands. The series will continue with fan favorites such as The Martini Shot Band, Mile High Rock Band, and Reminiscent Souls featuring Suga Bear & Lady Shay. 

Visit LaborDayLiftOff.com for more information and stay tuned for the announcement of a potential fireworks show.

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