City hopes to make Four Corners Balloon Rally an annual event

John R. Moses
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON – Hot air balloons, some skimming the water at Lake Farmington, delighted crowds of early-morning onlookers during the first city-sponsored balloon rally last weekend.

So did the sight of the towering balloons glowing at night during a well-attended balloon glow event conducted beneath dry, early-fall skies at San Juan College.

Farmington officials say things went so well they plan to throw the party again next year and maybe welcome even more participants to bring their balloons to the Four Corners Balloon Rally.

“We had a lot of positive feedback,” said City of Farmington spokesperson Georgette Allen. “…We’re looking at making it an annual event.”

There had not been a large-scale balloon rally event in Farmington for about 20 years.

Allen said 21 balloon owners signed up to fly, and she said the ones who contacted the city reported having positive experiences.

A hot air balloon departs Lake Farmington on the morning of Sept. 24 during the second day of the Four Corners Balloon Rally.

Allen said the public’s response also was positive.

“People are excited about the event,” Allen said.

The event cost the city $37,980 in total, Allen said.

The rally, held from Sept. 23 to Sept. 25, drew a crowd of about 500 to Justis Park, where weather did not permit balloon inflation but balloon operators lit their burners.

A plane streaks through the sky above the Farmington area while balloons glow on the ground during a Sept. 23 event that also featured Native American dancers and the college's African drum group, all part of the Four Corners Balloon Rally.

At San Juan College, hundreds of people converged for the night glow Sept. 23, and 350 of them went to a concert there afterward.

The Guess Who concert on Sept. 24 at Ricketts Park attracted 1,474 attendees, Allen said.

The free 7:30 a.m. balloon ascension events at Lake Farmington attracted about 350 people on Sept. 23, and about 450 people each day Sept. 24 and Sept. 25.

Allen said she hopes the festival will become a destination attraction and draw visitors to the area’s hotels and restaurants.