DES MOINES, Iowa -- Almost 20 hot air balloons hit the skies Tuesday morning in Des Moines to serve a reminder that the National Balloon Classic starts Friday.
"Today is our annual balloon flight over Des Moines. It is one of our favorite traditions with the classic,"said Staci Scheurenbrand, Executive Director of the National Ballon Classic.
There will be have a variety of different events throughout the classic including hot air balloon racing.
"We won't be going that fast," said Bill Clemons, race director for National Balloon Classic. "It's more about the accuracy of how the pilots fly. This is a big event."
Pilots are judged on how close they can drop an item on a target and Clemons said the competition can get fierce.
"Yes, the competitors are very competitive," said Clemons.
Those pilots will be competing for a variety of prizes including, trophies, pride and cash.
"We will be awarding thousands of dollars to the winners of the races," said Scheurenbrand.
Clemons has been about of the classic since 2008 and he says it's an event for the whole family.
"Just bring a blanket down to the balloon field and see how it goes," Clemons said. "It's too neat to be scary."
"We like to say that we are one of the best values in town," said Scheurenbrand. "For five bucks... We have live bands everyday. We have cold inflates, where people can go inside and tour a balloon."
The National Balloon Classic runs through August 1 at the Balloon Field located at 15335 Jewell Street east of Indianola. The balloon flights launch at 6:30 in the morning and evening. Admission is free in the morning. Tickets are $5 in the evening which includes parking. Kids 5 and under are free.
Balloon rides are also available. Call 1-800-690-1287 to schedule a ride. Click here to go to the National Balloon Classic’s website for a full schedule.