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Cañon City to host a Balloon Classic, hopes to become its official home

Ca?on City to host a Balloon Classic

Cañon City, Colo. - Cañon City will host its first-ever hot air balloon show this Memorial Day weekend. The city hopes to become the Balloon Classic's official home.

The Colorado Springs Balloon Classic has taken place at Memorial Park every Labor Day weekend for almost 40 years. Last year, when it ran into some hurdles, its president, Patsy Buchwald, considered moving the event. Cañon City volunteered to step up as host city. The event ended up staying in Colorado Springs, but the idea of moving resulted in a second hot air balloon show.

"That city and that region are incredible," Buchwald said. "They're rejuvenating me personally and our company."

Buchwald and Create Cañon City teamed up to bring six hot air balloons to The Abbey, this Memorial Day weekend. The event will also have concession stands, skydivers and other activities. Balloons will launch Saturday, Sunday and Monday mornings, and glow Saturday and Sunday nights.

After the tough year Fremont County has had, hopes are high.

"Anything that we can do to bring these additional resources and financial opportunities from outside will have a very positive impact," said Rob Brown, Interim Executive Director of the Fremont Economic Development Corp. "So we're hoping it'll help be a step toward recovery."

But their hopes don't end there. Cañon City wants to be the official home of the Classic.

"We certainly have no objective other than to serve the community for our county here, but given the opportunity, we would certainly like to take that advantage," Brown said.

This year's event could determine whether that becomes a reality.

"This is absolutely a test run" Brown said. "This is our opportunity as a community to see if we can support this type of an event and then make it successful and take the next step."

He said he doesn't want to damage Colorado Springs. He said if the Classic were to move, El Paso County would still benefit.

Buchwald said her intentions are to stay in Colorado Springs, but moving isn't out of the picture.

"We don't know what will happen. We're a business, we've got to look at all the things that affect that," she said. "Our goal and intention is to stay in Memorial Park, it is the home of the Balloon Classic, but at some point we'll have to see, have we outgrown the park, is there somewhere else that would be more conducive for us having this?"

But Both Buchwald and Brown said there is also no reason why Colorado can't have two Balloon Classics.

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