Oh, the colors you’ll see: ColorFest set for this weekend

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Photo courtesy Pagosa Springs Area Chamber of Commerce
The weekend’s ColorFest festivities are again slated to include a pair of mass hot air balloon ascensions, one downtown and the other on the west side of town. The ascensions are dependent upon weather.

By Mary Jo Coulehan | Pagosa Springs Area Chamber of Commerce

The weekend of Sept. 16-18 is ColorFest weekend. The weather is gorgeous; however, should Mother Nature decide to cool down or rain, the events in the park will continue under the “big tent.” Be aware that the hot air balloon launches, including the balloon glow on Saturday night, are all contingent upon the weather. 

Let’s start with Friday night and the Passport to Pagosa Wine and Food Festival. At this time, the event is sold out for Friday night. A number of Pagosa restaurants will be showing off their delicious food fares and vying for individual category and People’s Choice awards. 

The Bands and Brews Festival on Saturday, Sept. 17, is wide open. You can still purchase your tickets online or purchase them at the gate. Enjoy the live music of the Jackson Mountain Ramblers and returning artist Felix y Los Gatos as well as specialty quaffs from more than 12 regional brewers. Food trucks and other entertainment will be on site. The event begins at 4 p.m. 

Weather permitting, we hope to have a balloon glow in the field starting at about 7 p.m. You can view this event from various locations overlooking the park or coming down Hermosa Street. On Saturday morning, enjoy Breakfast with Balloons at the Geothermal Greenhouse Partnership site. Get a great seat to the balloon launch while enjoying breakfast, mimosas and live entertainment. Tickets may be purchased at www.pagosagreen.org or at the Pagosa Springs Area Chamber of Commerce. 

If you would like to be a little more active on Saturday morning, participate in the Aspen House’s ColorRun/Walk. This event begins at 8 a.m. in Town Park. You can register in advance for the race at www.runsignup.com/Race/CO/Pagosaspringscolorfestcolorrun5k. This is a family-friendly event, and participants are encouraged to wear their ColorRun-colored T-shirt as a badge of honor all day.

Also on Saturday evening at the Bands and Brews event, the winning tickets will be drawn for the Pagosa Adventure Raffle. The drawing will take place at 7 p.m. People purchasing tickets do not need to be present to win. 

Online raffle ticket sales ended on Wednesday, Sept. 14. You may still purchase tickets at the Chamber of Commerce or Visitor Center up until Saturday. On Saturday, tickets will also be available at the Bands and Brews Festival until about 6:45 p.m. Tickets are for a Red Paddle inflatable stand-up paddleboard (commonly known as a SUP) complete with carrying case, oars, paddles and pump. Another fabulous prize is a Kona Lava mountain bike. The grand prize is a Polaris RZR and towing trailer. Tickets are one for $5, three for $10 and seven for $20. Proceeds benefit Chamber events and related infrastructure. 

ColorFest brings around 30 hot air balloons to the community. The balloons will launch from the Hot Springs Boulevard area on Saturday morning and from the west side of town on Sunday morning. All launches will kick off between 7:30 and 8 a.m. 

The vacant lot adjacent to The Springs Resort will not be available for parking. This area is restricted to pilots and crew. Parking is available in other places around the downtown area, including just a short walk from the parking area behind the post office on the way up to Reservoir Hill. Please, do not park on Hot Springs Boulevard. 

On Sunday, the balloons will launch from various areas on the west side of town, including Park Avenue and around the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association (PLPOA) clubhouse/admin offices. Parking at the PLPOA Recreation Center is restricted and available only for those using the Rec Center. However, the balloons are more spread out in this area and there is a good amount of viewing room. Note that drones are prohibited due to the Federal Aviation Administration status of the hot air balloons and possible danger to any balloons. 

This event is certainly a community event and would not be possible without the participation from our lodging community and restaurants. We have also engaged the seventh-grade middle schoolers to show them what it takes to put on an event such as this as well as having them help setting up the event and working on coordination. Several high school groups are also helping out as their community service project. It does take a village with all the volunteers, sponsors and business engagement. Come and enjoy the beautiful weather, live music, food and all the activity associated with this ColorFest weekend. We look forward to a colorful good time.