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Erie Town Fair brings balloons to the Front Range


Dear Erie, this morning I was above you. Not in the figurative sense, but literally above you. In a balloon. More specifically, in a blue, purple, pink and white hot air balloon piloted by the high-spirited Patricia Newlin from Riverton, Wyoming. D

It was amazing, and well worth waking up at 4:30 a.m. to make the drive from Denver. But the experience was much more than just standing in a tiny basket being catapulted above the Front Range. I learned a lot about the art of flying as I helped Newlin set up the balloon. I saw all of the subdivisions, even if I couldn’t make out a single difference. I scared horses and dogs and cats. I waved at people taking pictures of the balloon in their bathrobes. I even experienced a rough landing and helped wrestle the balloon to the ground.

It was a once in a lifetime experience, mainly because I would be too scared to do it again. Scared of dropping my phone or hitting a tree, which happens more often than anyone would like to think.

At the end of the ride, I even got an introduction into the balloon family with a ritual that, at first seemed to be a little cult-y but turned out to be pretty awesome. It involved champagne and a balloon prayer:

“The Winds have welcomed you with softness.
The Sun has blessed you with its warm hands.
You have flown so high and so well,
that God has joined you in your laughter,
and set you gently back again
into the loving arms of Mother Earth.”

It was the best way to start my weekend.

All of this was thanks to the 19th annual Erie Town Fair and Balloon Festival, that started this morning with a fleet of balloons reigning over the Front Range and last until Sunday morning. The main attraction is Saturday with more than 200 booths set up alongside Erie’s main streets. With food, booze, crafts, carnival games and live music to entertain the families and lovers of Erie. There will also be a fireworks show, weather permitting. Honestly, it’s a good way to celebrate the quaint town that continues to grow.

The fair lasts from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., followed by an array of live music from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

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