UPDATE: Winds have prevented liftoff of balloons Sunday morning at the Colorado Balloon Classic at Memorial Park.
The evening Balloon Glo at 8 p.m. Sunday and Monday morning ascension are still planned.
The Colorado Balloon Classic huffed and it puffed and it took off early Saturday morning.
Multi-colored balloons bright as rainbows floated above Memorial Park like promises.
At least, that was how they looked to Naiom Britt and her son, David, 6.
The two left Denver at 4 a.m. to see the balloons because they help remind David of his dream of becoming an astronaut, Naiom said.
"Ever since we went to Kennedy Space Center, he has wanted to be an astronaut," Naiom said. "We come here because I figure anything that is flying is good for him to see."
Dusty Shutt, a member of the balloon classic's leadership team, said 84 balloons were registered to take off.
The classic runs for three days, wrapping up on Labor Day. Ascensions are scheduled to begin at 7 a.m. Sunday and Monday, weather permitting.
While Shutt said the morning crowd was pretty good, more fans would show up for the evening events, which include a Balloon Glo starting at 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Things got underway early Saturday.
Spectators were biking, skateboarding, walking and driving as early as 6 a.m. to the park.
Pilots and their crews were briefed about 6:10 a.m and a little after 6:30 a.m. the first wave of balloons were being inflated.
It takes between 15 and 20 minutes to inflate a balloon, said Scott Cummings, who brought a balloon from the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. A large fan blew warm air into his balloon while a couple of his ground crew held the mouth open as it filled with air.
Michael Barnosky, one of three pilots for a balloon from Cedaredge, in on the Western Slope, has been flying balloons since age 16. He said he wasn't sure they would try to "kiss" Prospect Lake. That's when the balloon skims the top of the water before soaring off.
"We've done it in the past," he said.
From a huge guppy to the sun wearing sunglasses, balloons were in all shapes and sizes.
Second Wind from Amarillo, Texas, was shaped like a teardrop and its colors were red, orange, yellow and blue.
It's owned by Buzz and Sharon Wills, part of the first wave of balloons.
Buzz Wills was in the basket.
Occasionally he gunned the burner, shooting flame upward, which held the balloon steady on the ground.
"We're waiting for the traffic to clear," he said.
He's been flying balloons for around 38 years, said his wife, Sharon.
"We've been married 35 years," she said. "He was doing this before we got married."
Balloons, she said, can cost up to $100,000. They're like owning a boat, she said.
They have to be licensed, insured and once a year are inspected for safety.
"It's not cheap," Sharon Wills said. "It's a family sport."
Already their kids and grandchildren are involved.
"It's probably the most peaceful thing in the world," Sharon Wills said. "You're part of the wind."