Attendees warm up to festival changes in Snowmass | AspenTimes.com

Attendees warm up to festival changes in Snowmass

Jill Beathard
Snowmass Sun

The Night Glow in Snowmass Village on Sept. 13.

The weather was clear, the balloons were flying and by all accounts it was a successful weekend for Snowmass Village.

The annual hot-air balloon and wine festivals were Sept. 12 through 14. While venue changes in both events rankled some guests and business owners last year, most people had good things to say this time.

"I thought the daytime balloon fest events were stunning with so many balloons in the air and some new graphics," part-time resident Brenda Sanderson said. "Plus the weather was kind. We have never been to the glow sessions before, and I was enchanted to see them lit up, but then I had nothing to compare it with."

The Night Glow, when pilots light their torches and leave the balloons on the ground where attendees can walk among them, was relocated to Fanny Hill last year. Some people wish that event was still on the softball field because not as many balloons participated this year.

"However, the crowds were large, and people seemed to be having a wonderful time, so I guess that is the main thing," Sanderson said.

Reed Lewis, who owns businesses on the Snowmass Village Mall, said he agrees that the event should still be held on the softball field, although he likes having events on the hill.

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"I think that's one that's just better down there," Lewis said. "It's prettier."

However, Lewis said the festival went better than last year, when poor weather severely impacted guests' enjoyment of most balloon events.

"I think it was a pretty successful weekend overall," Lewis said.

This year, the Night Glow also included music and choreographic performances in Base Village, where much of the crowd gathered.

Lewis has particularly felt the impact of the Wine Festival's relocation, although he said he's glad that the move has been successful for the Snowmass Rotary fundraiser. The event attracted more than 1,000 attendees, said Rotarian Randy Woods. The club had not calculated its profits as of press time.

"It was better than last year," Woods said.

For first-time attendee Katie Cassetta, who got up early Sept. 13 to watch the morning balloon launch, the event held the magic that has kept people coming for 39 years.

"It was one of those storybook, perfect Colorado mornings," Cassetta said. "We laid down on the grass and looked up right as the balloons were taking off, and we were giggling like little kids, it was so beautiful."

jill@snowmasssun.com