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Businessman with connection to Balloon Classic hopes it stays in town

Fight to keep Balloon Classic in town continues

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - A local businessman is joining the efforts to keep the Balloon Classic in Colorado Springs, because he has a close connection to it.

David Begin was once a hot air balloon pilot who participated in balloon rallies around the country. In the 1990s, he flew in the Balloon Classic. It was just one more stop, but it became a lot more.

"It introduced us to Colorado Springs and the Front Range area, and the Pikes Peak region, and we just fell in love with it and decided to move here," Begin said.

Begin and his family moved to Colorado Springs in 2001. Today, they own two Wild Blue Car Washes and two i Top it yogurt shops.

"We employ probably 40 to 50 people here, and we just love being here and love being part of the community and helping out where we can," Begin said.

Begin doesn't pilot hot air balloons at the Balloon Classic anymore, but he's still involved. He flies a plane and makes sure the balloons are landing in safe places and communicates with the people on the field. His businesses are also sponsors in the Classic. It was the event that introduced him to Colorado Springs, and he doesn't want to see it leave the city.

"It's such a jewel for Colorado Springs," he said. "I hope people realize how precious it is to have a balloon rally. They're becoming few and far between nowadays."

And he said having the Classic in town is good for the city.

"It is very much an economic driver," he said. "Most people don't come here to open businesses like I did, but it's still a tremendous opportunity for people to see Colorado Springs, see how great it is, see everybody get together."

Begin isn't the only one showing his support. Councilwoman Helen Collins said she'll sponsor a resolution to decrease the cost of the event.

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