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Mancos Balloon Festival takes place this month

Balloons lift off from Boyle Park during the 2013 Mancos Valley Balloon and Arts Festival.

Eleven hot-air balloons will take to the skies from Boyle Park in Mancos next weekend as the Mancos Valley Balloon and Arts Festival enters its 12th year.

“People come from all over the Four Corners,” event organizer Bobbi Black said. “It’s a beautiful sight.”

Balloon launches will take place each morning at 6:45 a.m. on Sept. 22-24 at Boyle Park, Black said. This year’s event features 11 balloons. The event is free, but balloon rides cost $125, and tethered rides cost $10.

Black said she expects as many as 3,000 people to come see the show that weekend.

The balloon spectacle is accompanied by a fundraiser barbecue dinner and hoedown, which will take place Friday, Sept. 23 at the arena at Medicine Horse Center. Tickets for the dinner cost $20, and proceeds will benefit Medicine Horse, as well as Operation Second Chance, an organization that assists veterans with disabilities, Black said.

It’s the first year that the dinner will be held in the Medicine Horse arena, and Black said there should be more space for the event than in future years. People are encouraged to don western attire for the hoedown, Black said.

A live and silent auction also will be held during the hoedown to benefit the charities, Black said. The sale will feature items such as the balloon-themed quilt made during the first Mancos Balloon Festival in 2004, an Alpaca raft and a four-day Flagstaff vacation package. There also will be a drawing for a free balloon ride.

“We have some fabulous auction items,” Black said.

Also alongside the event is the Arts Festival, which will take place Sept. 23 along Grand Avenue in Mancos. Galleries will open their doors, and there will be food vendors and artists in town, Black said. The street will be closed down and carriage rides will be offered, along with a train ride for children, she said.

The finale of the event is the “Balloon Glow” on Sunday evening in Boyle Park. People will line the circumference of the park and watch as pilots fire up their balloons as music plays. The glow will start about 7:30 p.m. when it starts to get dark.

“They light up and they flicker,” Black said. “It’s a beautiful thing.”

Balloon crew volunteers are still needed, as well as a volunteer overseer, Black said. Anyone interested in volunteering may call Black at 970-560-0203.

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