It’s the most wonderful time of the year in the Treasure Valley! The hot air balloons have returned to the Boise skyline for the 31st Annual Scott Spencer Spirit of Boise Balloon Classic.

Weather conditions and winds were perfect for the first launch of the year on Thursday, September 1! Thursday’s “Media Day” launch is an optional flight day for pilots participating in the event, but nearly 40 balloons decided to take advantage of Boise’s unique “box winds” that allowed many pilots to navigate their way back to Ann Morrison Park at the end of their flight.

As long as conditions continue to cooperate you can look forward to three more mornings of balloons over Boise as well as the Night Glow Spectacular on Friday evening! Morning launches start around 7:20 a.m. at Ann Morrison Park. In addition to the morning launches, these are some highlights of Boise’s best FREE community event that you don’t want to miss!

Night Glow Spectacular

Michelle Heart, Townsquare Media
Michelle Heart, Townsquare Media
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Live music, food trucks and vendors begin Friday, September 2 at 5:30 p.m. with the actual Night Glow performance scheduled to begin around 8:05 p.m. During the Night Glow, the balloons don’t leave Ann Morrison Park. Instead, 16 pilots will inflate their balloons and fill the night with color to musical cues. Essentially, the balloons turn into 75’ tall Chinese lanterns! It’s one of the best photo-ops of the entire week!

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Dawn Patrol

If you do want to see a hot air balloon fly in the dark, plan on getting up REALLY early on Saturday or Sunday morning. During Dawn Patrol, some pilots will take off in the dark. They’ll stay in the air until after sunrise when it’s light enough to locate a proper landing sight. These launches happen around 6 a.m.

The Last Dance

Michelle Heart, Townsquare Media
Michelle Heart, Townsquare Media
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This is by far our favorite launch of the Spirit of Boise Balloon Classic. Typically during the last daylight launch on Sunday morning, the pilots will inflate their balloons at the same time and try to clear the balloon field in under two minutes. To see all those balloons go up in the air at the same time is absolutely magical!

Photos from the Air

Michelle Heart, Townsquare Media
Michelle Heart, Townsquare Media
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We got the special opportunity to fly with pilot Max Moerles in the Air Hound balloon on Media Day! Max grew up in Boise and loves making the trip from Florida back to his hometown for the Spirit of Boise. He lead the way on a new technology that allows pilots to use drones to capture real-time winds at their launch sights, which can help pilots make even safer decisions when it comes to their flights. Max recently had the opportunity to work with Nickelodeon on an upcoming episode of Noggin Knows which will introduce kids to the world of hot air ballooning!

During our flight, we had the chance to do a “splash and dash” where he briefly dipped our basket in the water at Quinn’s Pond and touch some of the tree tops near Ann Morrison Park as we approached a landing area. Here are some of the cool photos we captured during our flight!

Incredible Hot Air Balloons Return to Boise for Spirit of Boise Balloon Classic [PHOTOS]

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On Friday night, 16 of the pilots flying in this year's Spirit of Boise Balloon Classic inflated their balloons to put on a stunning, uniquely Boise light show! 

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