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What’s New and Next for the 46th Annual Colorado Springs Labor Day Lift Off

July 7, 2022

COLORADO SPRINGS, July 7, 2022— Scott Appelman, Hot Apple Productions Managing Partner and Rainbow Ryders CEO, and Megan Leatham, Colorado Springs Sports Corporation President and CEO announced today the innovative changes, new programming and exciting partnerships for the 46th annual Labor Day Lift Off, scheduled from September 3 through 5, 2022 at Memorial Park. Read on for the festival highlights:

Fast Facts

  • Event ranking: Colorado Springs Labor Day Lift Off is ranked in the top balloon festivals in the world by US News and World Report.
  • Economic impact: New data by the Visit Colorado Springs estimates this event brings in $9.4 million.

Returning Activities

  • Balloon Lift Offs and Balloon Glows: Spectacular balloon traditions are returning including daily morning balloon lift offs from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. where 75 balloons float in the Colorado Springs sky for the largest balloon festival in Colorado as well as sunset balloon glows at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 3 and Sunday, September 4.
  • Hot Air Balloon Rides by Rainbow Ryders: Hot air balloon adventures will be provided by Rainbow Ryders daily. The check-in tent will be located at Memorial Park. Guests will fly among many balloons and each flight will be approximately 45 to 60 minutes long. Rates will start at $345 per person.
  • Krispy Kreme Donut Eating Contest: Returning to the festival this year is the annual Donut Eating Contest. Sponsored by Krispy Kreme, the Donut Eating Contest will take place on Saturday, September 3 and Sunday, September 4 at 9 a.m. on the main stage.


What’s New in 2022/All-new Activities 

  • Colorado Springs Aloft: The Colorado Springs Aloft is joining the balloon festival and will take place in the Pavilion at the Banning Lewis Ranch on Thursday, September 1 and the kick-off event will feature food trucks, music, family activities, and balloons.
  • Special Shapes: The special shapes balloon event will include the return of Darth Vader, Yoda and Kermie the Frog. Brand new balloon shapes will also debut this year including Chris P. Bacon, Finley the Fish, Allycorn the Unicorn and Friendly Monster.
  • Orangetheory 5K Race: A significant change to the festival this year is the launch of the Orangetheory 5K race at Labor Lift Off and it will take place on Sunday, September 4 at 9 a.m. The 5K will start at the IAFF Fallen Firefighters Memorial (northwest corner of Memorial Park), head though the side streets of Memorial Park, around Prospect Lake and finish at Memorial Park. Before the race, all guests are invited to arrive early and watch over 75 balloons take to the sky and enjoy shopping and local vendors.
  • Labor Day Lift Off Lounge: The coveted festival will now include a Labor Day Lift Off Lounge, for an exclusive VIP experience. This special ticket will grant access to complimentary food, drinks, reserved seating, private restrooms, and a parking pass. All VIP ticket purchasers will be entered into a drawing for two FREE balloon rides from Rainbow Ryders. VIP tickets are $115 and can be purchased through Eventbrite (here). VIP tickets can be purchased from now through August 22.

Family Fun

  • Balloon, Brews, and Bites Happy Hour: Another new attraction is the Balloon, Brews, and Bites Happy Hour, featuring discounted drinks, live music, and early-access to family-fun activities. The happy hour will take place from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 3 and Sunday, September 4.


  • Concert Series: Labor Day Lift Off will also feature a concert series kicked off by local bands, Missy and the Dirty Secrets and Mosquito Pass, winners of the 2021 Battle of the Bands. The series will continue with fan favorites such as The Martini Shot Band, Mile High Rock Band, and Reminiscent Souls ft. Suga Bear & Lady Shay.
  • Fireworks Show: Guests should stay tuned for the announcement of a potential fireworks show! To be announced at a later date.

The register for the balloon festival or 5K race and for more information, visit

Social media: @labordayliftoff, @TheSportsCorp, @RainbowRyders and @CityofCOS

About Hot Apple Productions, LLC
Hot Apple Productions, LLC is an event production and management company and is a sister company to Rainbow Ryders Hot Air Balloon Co., the nation’s largest hot air balloon ride company. With 40 years in the hot air balloon industry, HAP is focused on producing large-scale hot air balloon events nationwide, including Colorado Springs Labor Day Lift Off and the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. Hot Apple Productions is committed to promoting the awareness of hot air ballooning in communities worldwide and to providing memorable experiences and services. For more information, visit

About Colorado Springs Sports Corporation
Colorado Springs Sports Corporation (The Sports Corp) is built to inspire and advance Colorado Springs, Olympic City USA, and the Pikes Peak Region through sport and community events. The Sports Corp’s goal is to promote tourism and create a positive economic impact by bringing civic leaders together with some of the nation’s premier sporting organizations. The Sports Corp hosts annual marquee events including the Colorado Springs Sports Hall of Fame, Colorado Springs Labor Day Lift Off, Star Spangled Symphony & July 4th Block Party, The Broadmoor Cycle to the Summit, Pikes Peak Regional Airshow, Rocky Mountain State Games, and other sport-centric celebrations. The Sports Corp also supports the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee, National and International Governing Bodies of Sport, and the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum. For more information, visit


Media Contacts:
Colorado Springs Sports Corporation

Molly Sharples

The Knight Agency

Erica Knight

Stephanie Ferrer