National Balloon Classic Kicks Off with Flight Over Des Moines

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- When you drive into work Monday morning, expect to see a few more colors in the sky. The National Balloon Classic will put on its annual 'Fly Over Des Moines.'

"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 Balloon Classic. “This is the kick-off to our classic. From this point on everyone is ready.”

Fans of the classic won’t be disappointed as organizers are hoping to make this year’s event one of the biggest.

“It will just be a lot more of what the spectators love," said Scheurenbrand. "More Nite Glows, more fireworks, more Dawn Patrol, more fun and entertainment.”

There will be a variety of different events throughout the classic including hot air balloon racing.

Pilots are judged on how close they can drop an item on a target and race director Bill Clemons says the competition can get intense.

"Yes, the competitors are very competitive," said Clemons.

“We have pilots from all over the country,” said Scheurenbrand. “We have both the national and international competitors coming this year.”

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 says it's an event for the whole family.

"We like to say that we are one of the best values in town," said Scheurenbrand. "For $5, we have live bands every day. We have cold inflates, where people can go inside and tour a balloon."

The National Balloon Classic runs through August 6th at the Balloon Field in Indianola. The balloon flights launch at both 6:30 a.m. and p.m.

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.

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