The balloons are coming! The date for the 31st Annual Arkansas Valley Balloon Festival is Nov. 2 and 3. The purpose of the festival is to provide promotion for the Arkansas Valley and provide recreational, educational and cultural activities.

There’s time left to become a sponsor. The sponsor levels are Balloon: $425, Platinum: $400 plus, Gold: $300-399, Silver: $200-299, Bronze: $100-199. The people to contact are Peggy Jo Dowell at 719-469-9879 or Rocky Sanders at 719-254-4354, avballoonfest@gmail.com, or just plan on attending the events.

Lynnie Feik said, “We need more sponsors for the pilots. Anyone interested  please call Peggy Jo Dowell at 469-9879 of Rockie Sanders at 254-3446 or 468-6163.”

School art classes in the area - Rocky Ford, Manzanola and Fowler - are making the pilot boxes with boxes provided by Rocky Ford Food Market. Donations for the boxes come from all over the Arkansas Valley. School kids will also be making tissue paper balloons.

On Friday morning Nov. 1 at 8 a.m. The tissue paper balloons will be launched at Jefferson Intermediate School, and there will also be a tethered balloon demonstration.

On Saturday at 6:45 a.m. the gates will open at the launch site, which is at Innovative Water Technologies, 19625 Industrial Park Road, Rocky Ford. First comes the pilot briefing, or whether the wind will permit the balloons to fly. The balloon launch starts at 7:30 a.m. if the news is good. Watch the balloons fly and maybe follow them to landing, but be careful and keep your eyes on the road (a spotter is handy to have along).

Saturday night at 5 p.m. is time for the parade down Main Street and candle sticking in the park.

Sunday is a repeat of Saturday, except gates open at 5:45 a.m., due to the “fall back” time change. Pilot briefing is at 6:15 and the launch starts at 6:30 a.m. on Sunday.

Both Saturday and Sunday, cinnamon rolls, coffee, and hot chocolate are available for purchase at the launch site from the United Methodist Church of Rocky Ford.

Other community events are an Arts & Crafts Fair on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Gobin Building (located at the railroad station on Main Street). The Grand Theater is showing a movie on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and on Sunday, at 1:30 and 7:30 p.m.

The Board of Directors for the Arkansas Valley Balloon Festival are: President Chris Feik, Vice President Les Feik, Treasurer Rockie Sanders, Secretary Peggy Jo Dowell, Lynnie Feik, Carol Segura, Peggy Meyer, Cindy Abert and Melenia Griesse.