Unexpected Winds Hamper Balloon Launch, But Balloon Festival Continues Through Monday
The first full day of the 2016 Balloon Festival is off and running!
Unfortunately, the weather hasn't been as cooperative as we would like it to be. The hardest part about having a Balloon Festival is dealing with the winds. Small changes in the winds down on the ground can translate to dangerous conditions at higher altitudes. It's meant we've been unable to launch as many balloons as we've liked.
However, the remainder of the festival as been great! The ranch activities are rolling, and the food trucks are serving up some great eats!
What should you expect today at the Balloon Festival?
Thanks to everyone who came out to the TFCU launch field for the first morning of the 2016 El Paso Balloon Festival. Unfortunately, the surprise winds delayed the balloons taking off, but once the hare balloon (the lead balloon which carries the flag during the National Anthem) took to the air, others began following. The first wave was gently heading toward the northeast part of El Paso as expected, but when a wind shift occurred. We had one balloon float off to the northwest (a less-than-ideal landing option) causing some pilots to lean toward caution and not go up.
KTSM meteorologist Chuck DeBroder noted Monday's forecast looks even more favorable for a full launch. Winds are projected in the 5-9 mph range, and as anyone who’s familiar with ballooning knows, this is an activity where special precautions must be taken to ensure pilot, public, and balloon safety are the biggest priority.
The earlier you can get there to see Monday's launch, the better. Gates open at 5 a.m., and we hope to have the balloons in the air by 6 a.m. Breakfast food trucks will be there, too. Parking is $5.
Hey man, what was the deal with Saturday night's Balloon Glow?
As you may have read on social media, Saturday night’s Balloon Glow and military tribute did not go as we would have liked it to. Or, truthfully, as ANYONE would have liked it to. Right now, please accept our apologies for the inconvenience and misunderstandings that took place. We’ll give you an honest, full account of what went wrong and what we’re going to do to fix it very soon. Let us get to the other side of the festival, and we’ll offer a more extensive apology — we promise. We’re very grateful for the support you have shown us in the past for the Balloon Festival and for the support you still show us, and we’re going to work to make this right going forward. We owe El Paso better, and we're going to make sure we deliver it.