28th annual Balloon Fest leads weekend festivities | AspenTimes.com
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28th annual Balloon Fest leads weekend festivities

Steve Benson

Snowmass Village will be hopping this weekend as Fall in Love with Aspen/Snowmass concludes with a hefty schedule of events. The inaugural event kicked off last week with Oktoberfest, a disc golf tournament and a childrens fishing derby. Its going really well, said Allison Johnson, the director of publicity for the town of Snowmass Village. Its been phenomenal for a first year event. Johnson added that Denver TV station KUSA ran a segment on Fall In Love with Aspen earlier this week, so visits may spike this weekend. This weekends festivities include the 28th annual Snowmass Balloon Festival, an outdoor concert by Nashville singer/songwriter Shawn Camp, the Golden Leaf Marathon, The Snowmass Wine & Food Festival, The UX Open extreme golf tournament, and Fall Family Fun Day.The festival begins at 6:45 a.m. Friday with the Colorado Rat Race, which is a timed hot air balloon distance race that starts at Cozy Point. Last years winner made it to Red Mountain in Glenwood Springs.Another hot air balloon competition, Dawn Quixote, will take place Saturday at the Snowmass Softball Fields from 7:30-9:30 a.m. The challenge involves spearing balloons with ski poles from the basket of the balloon. All of the balloon events are open to spectators. The Golden Laf mountain bike race from Snowmass Village to Aspen will also occur Saturday morning. The Snowmass Wine and Food Festival runs Saturday from 11 a.m to 4 p.m. on the Snowmass Village mall. Certified wine educator and French chef Stephen Reiss will teach a wine tasting seminar from 11 a.m. to noon, while a silent auction will be held from 12:30-3:30 p.m. The Grand Tasting with over 30 participating wineries runs from 1-4 p.m. Its really a nice opportunity to go into a non intimidating atmosphere to talk about food and wine, Johnson said. The festival is a fund-raiser by the Snowmass Rotary with all proceeds donated to local nonprofits. Last years festival raised $9,000 for 20 organizations such as the Little Red School House, the Aspen Buddy Program, and the Roaring Fork Youth Baseball Camp. The price of admission to the Wine Festival is $40, which includes access to the chairlifts.The UX Open Western Regional Tournament, which is being called an extreme golf tournament, will also be taking place on the slopes of Snowmass Ski Area Saturday. Play on the 10-hole course will begin at 10 a.m. The final hole is a staggering 1,220 yards. Shawn Camp will play at 7:30 Saturday night as 30-plus hot air balloons will be lit to glow through the evening. Sunday, or Family Fun Day, gets off to an early start with the hot air balloon Target Tubing contest aiming tennis balls at tubes on the Snowmass Club golf course at 7:30 a.m., and the Golden Leaf half-marathon trail race beginning at 8:30 a.m. The finals of the UX Open and a photography contest will also take place Sunday before a final party on the mall, which will include music, stilt walkers, kids arts & crafts, ice cream and balloonists. The great thing about it is there are so many things coming on that it appeals to basically everyone, Johnson said. For more information, contact 1-800-SNOWMASS or visit http://www.snowmasslodgingspecials.com.


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