A bright and bouncy balloon can brighten even the sourest face. Imagine what 50 gigantic ones will do.
The Colorado River Crossing Balloon Festival attracts balloon pilots from throughout the West and Southwest. This weekend, they’ll land in Yuma for three days of floating on air. Fancy shapes, breathtaking colors, cartoon pigs, soda cans and moving vans in the form of hot-air balloons will fill the cool fall skies.
The festival kicks off today with an early bird flight from the Quechan Paradise Casino. On Saturday morning, the venue shifts to Cibola High School and the Wells Fargo Balloon Glow, which takes place in the evening at Desert Sun Stadium at Yuma’s Ray Kroc Complex. Sunday, the flights resume from Cibola High School.
Organizers expect about 10,000 people to watch the launches of more than 50 balloons.
Balloon rides won’t be available to the public, but spectators are invited into the launch area to see the action up close.
The highlight of the festival will be the Balloon Glow. Balloons, tethered to the ground, will use their gas jets to shoot roaring towers of flames inside the balloon envelopes and make them glow.
Admission is free for the festival, but spectators are encouraged to bring nonperishable food items to benefit Crossroads Mission, a local charity.
For more information, call (928) 539-2022 or visit
Yuma is about three hours west of Phoenix. Take Interstate 10 west to Exit 112 toward Interstate 8. Merge onto state Route 85 south for about 36 miles. Merge onto Interstate 8 West for 113 miles.
Take Exit 2. Turn left onto U.S. 95/East 16th Street for 2 1 /2 miles. Turn left onto U.S. 95 for a half-mile, and then right onto West 20th Street to Cibola High School.