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40-year Labor Day Lift Off hot-air balloon tradition in Colorado Springs will continue

April 4, 2016 Updated: April 5, 2016 at 5:56 am
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Balloons float over Valley Hi Golf Course in Colorado Springs Sunday, Sept. 6, 2015, during the Colorado Springs Labor Day Lift Off in Memorial Park. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)

A 40-year tradition of hot air balloons launching from Colorado Springs on Labor Day weekend will continue this year, organizers announced Monday.

The Colorado Springs Labor Day Lift Off will be from Sept. 3-5 and will celebrate the 40th year the balloons have launched from Memorial Park. An estimated 150,000 people attended to watch 65 hot air balloons launch last year.

The news of another liftoff shows stability for an event that was once threatened after leaders for the Colorado Balloon Classic - which previously organized the event - announced it would not return in 2015. Another organization, the Colorado Springs Labor Day Lift Off, run by event organizer Hot Apple Productions, stepped in last year to run the event.

The group will be hosting the event again this year and expect to have 70 balloons participating.

"We are thrilled to be back, and have developed a new dynamic logo and website to support the event," said Scott Appelman, co-owner of Hot Apple Productions, in a released statement. "This is one of the largest and most well-attended events in Colorado Springs, and the new look and feel we've created are a match for the excitement that runs throughout the event."

Along with the traditional balloon launch and balloon glow, new events this year include skydiving demonstrations, wakeboarding exhibitions, paddle boarding and a beer garden.

The event will include the balloon launches at 7 a.m. each day. On Sept. 3 and Sept. 4, the event will host balloon glows, where the burners are turned on and the balloons inflate by their light.

Balloon rides are available by calling Rainbow Ryders Hot Air Balloon Ride Company at 800-752-2477. After landing, riders will be given a lift back to the park.

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