Several weeks ago, my son and several friends met up in Steamboat Springs, Colorado to attend it’s annual hot air balloon festival.
Mr. Buzz and I enjoyed his photos so much, I thought you might enjoy seeing them too?
Years ago, when my mom was visiting, we attended a hot air balloon festival in downtown Pittsburgh. Part of the fun was walking around Point State Park, and watching the balloons inflate beforehand. We particularly liked the ones that took interesting shapes; like a giant Heinz ketchup bottle. Our favorite though, was an enormous polar bear, representing Isaly’s Klondike Bar. Did you know both Heinz ketchup and Klondike Bars originated in Pittsburgh?
Anyway, the balloons launched where the three rivers converge, rising dramatically over the city’s skyline. It was a beautiful summer evening and lots of fun. My old prints, however, are not blog worthy for sharing like my son’s.
How does the Fifth Dimension song go? Let’s go “…up, up and away…” in Steamboat’s annual hot air balloon festival.
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38th Annual Hot Air Balloon Festival
Eldest son, along with friends from NYC, were looking for an escape from the big city in the Colorado Rockies. One of R’s college roommates met up with them at the Denver airport for the three-hour drive to Steamboat Springs. Once there, the group shared an Airbnb rental.
They built their vacation around Steamboat’s long-standing summer staple; it’s 38th Annual Hot Air Balloon Festival. In the picture below, to the middle right, you can just see the Smokey the Bear balloon about to rise above the trees. Can you make out his ranger’s hat?
Like years ago in Pittsburgh, part of the fun was getting to the launch grounds early to see the balloons inflate.
In Steamboat that means arriving by about 6:30 AM (yawn!).
After the balloons float across the sky, many spectators grab coffee, breakfast, or partake in a champagne brunch.
Pilots vye in fun contests during the rodeo portion of the hot air balloon festival. One competition involves dipping into Bald Eagle Lake.
It’s a two-day spectacle that offers a colorful display set against the backdrop of the Rocky Mountains.
Even after the balloons dot the Yampa Valley sky and begin to disappear from view, there’s lots more to see and do.
After the sun went down on Saturday, balloons glowed in the evening sky. There was also a beer garden, food and vendor booths, and kids’ activities to enjoy.
Summer Fun in Steamboat
Steamboat’s hot air festival coincides with the town’s annual Art in the Park event; now in it’s 45th year. It featured nearly 160 artists, live entertainment, food vendors, and an interactive children’s art area.
But, there are also many ways to get out and enjoy the natural beauty of the area.
A wide range of summer activities in and around Steamboat Springs should appeal to the interests and abilities of those of various ages, fitness levels, and daring!
These include; fly fishing, golf, helicopter rides, hiking, horseback riding, hot spring tours, mini golf, an alpine slide, paddle boarding, tubing, whitewater rafting, zip lining, and a pro-rodeo series.
Bike Town, USA
Steamboat embraces its moniker, Bike Town USA. Residents claim to, “bike for fun, bike to work, bike to exercise, and bike to experience the beauty of Steamboat Springs.”
My son and his friends rented mountain bikes to explore the terrain. I believe they accessed the trails by gondola? R said it was a lot of fun, especially since the bikes had a motor-assist, generated by pedal-power. Or, well something like that LOL!
As a mom, I was happy to see them wearing helmets, gloves, and both knee and elbow pads — safety first!
Have you or members of your family ever done mountain biking?
A relatively new addition to Steamboat is the Outlaw Mountain Coaster. My boys and I love roller coasters and this activity is much more up my alley than mountain biking. How about you?
At more than 6,280 linear feet, Steamboat claims it’s the longest coaster in North America. Located near the Christie Peak Express chairlift, the coaster descends more than 400 vertical feet, rises up to 40 feet above the ground, and features dips, waves, turns and 360-degree circles.
It takes about 10 minutes for riders to travel over a mile, at speeds up to 27 mph.
Steamboat definitely has a western, cowboy vibe. Check out the specialty stores for hats and boots.
When the boys were around two and five, my parents moved from Florida to Texas. The very next Christmas, they received authentic Stetson hats and cowboy boots. Their aunt and uncle gave them a horse swing made out of tires. And, for my youngest son’s birthday, his grandparents gave him a rocking
horse longhorn we named T-Bone.
Come that spring, it wasn’t much of a surprise that R wanted a cowboy-theme for his sixth birthday. Pony rides around our house was the highlight of the party. Yes readers, I was a party queen of theme even then, LOL!
About nine months later, we traveled to Steamboat; the boys wearing Stetson hats along with their ski coats on the airplane. And, they wore them every evening out to dinner, and on a nighttime, horse-drawn sleigh ride during our first family ski trip out west.
Cowboys on Skis
Steamboat is a cowboy town year-round. During our winter vacation, there were horses tied up to posts on the main street, and a herd of buffalo in the valley. Even the ski resort staff and lift operators uniform included a wool Stetson hat.
We had a fabulous time in Steamboat that first family ski vacation. Their light-as-air champagne bubble snow was so much easier and fun to ski than the ice on Pennsylvania slopes. It was the first of a number of memorable ski trips we took out West to Colorado and Canada.
Both boys and I took ski lessons. But, their lack of fear helped them to quickly surpass my abilities! Thank goodness my husband could keep up with them! Even then, the three guys were all about speed.
However, I really upped my game this year during a Breathtaking Breckenridge, Colorado Ski Trip. Since then, I also had the opportunity to enjoy a Terrific Telluride Colorado Ski Vacation and Charming Old Telluride Mining Town in Winter.
As I’ve long expected, a visit to Colorado shouldn’t be limited to the winter and skiing. There’s something to enjoy year round. Special thanks and photo credits to my son for the awesome summer Steamboat pics!
Have you ever visited the Rockies in the summer months or to ski? How about Steamboat?
Summer Fun Time
Last summer, the boys treated us to an Incredible Iceland Trip Ten Day Adventure to beat the summer heat here, in July.
It was to celebrate our milestone birthdays and wedding anniversary.
This year, just hubby and I spent nearly three weeks in Peru, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands. It was a bucket list trip. Just wish the guys could have joined us. Start the journey at, Provocative Peru Trip: Touring Lima & Sacred Valley.
Have you taken a summer vacation or planned one, visited family or arranged activities near your home?
For travel posts I regularly participate in: Metamorphous Monday, Centerpiece Wednesday, Share Your Style, Thursday Favorite Friends, Friday Friends, Saturday Sparks, and Love Your Creativity.
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What GORGEOUS pictures! Colorado is such a beautiful state. I live in Albuquerque and every October we have the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. 500 or more balloonists flood the city from all over the world. The sights are spectacular against Albuquerque’s blue skies. It’s definitely worth a trip!
Thanks Tammy! I’ll bet you have many fabulous photos of your own with the Fiesta right in your backyard! Boy, I sure hope I get to attend some upcoming October!
I have always wanted to go to a balloon festival. I just love hot air balloons and how colorful they are. These are fabulous photos.
Hubby and I are thinking of arranging a vacation around a balloon festival next year. Although, I don’t think you’d ever actually get me up in a hot air balloon.
Steamboat Springs looks like an exciting tourist town. The photos of the hot air balloons are wonderful. There is something just so whimsical about them. ?
Hi Michelle! We sure loved it for a family ski vacation. And, after my son’s recent trip there, hubby and I are more determined than ever for a summer vacation in the Rockies.
Gorgeous pics of the balloons! Reading this post brings back memories of one of our ski trips out west a LONG time ago. My husband’s brother lived in Boulder back in the 80’s after he graduated from the University. We made several trips out to visit back then and on one of them we went up to Steamboat for 3 days of skiing. It was a great trip! Would love to go back someday. Thanks for this post.
Hi Lynda, thanks for visiting with me! I really would like to get back to Steamboat to ski too. This past winter, my son (who lives and works in NYC) rented a log cabin style place, about 40 minutes out of Steamboat, for the months of Jan and Feb. Since they were working from home anyway, all they had to do was contend with the time difference. On weekends they’d ski and snowshoe. They invited us to join them, but not vaccinated yet, I was afraid of catching the virus. But, I was very relieved they were out of the city during that time.
Hey there, Debbee! I shared your travel post at last week’s Share Your Style #308. Hope you’ve been having a nice, cool summer, Hugs, Barb 🙂
And, I so appreciate it Barb! Sorry if I didn’t acknowledge it sooner, we’ve had a house full of family, friends and pets for the past week and a half. Happy chaos! It’s joyful to have summer fun and company again.