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Old West Balloon Fest, U.S. Balloon Championships Given Green Light

Old West Balloon Fest, U.S. Balloon Championships Given Green Light

Organizers of the Old West Balloon Fest say Public Health officials have given the green light to hold that event and the US National Hot Air Balloon Championships later this summer.

Executive Director Colleen Johnson says they approached Panhandle Public Health about the event two weeks ago, and will be working closely with them on a safe and socially-distanced event that will follow Governor Ricketts’ directives and health guidelines.

The Balloon Championships will be held August 10-15, with the OWBF events on the 14th and 15th with mass ascensions at Mitchell Airfield. Both Night Glows will take place, Aug 12 hosted by WNCC with 20 competition balloons and a few Old West favorites, and on Aug. 15, a minimum of 70 balloons are expected for the KNEB Night Glow at the Grasslands at Five Rocks Amphitheater.

Johnson says the event will be a bit different, with health and safety of staff, competitors and attendees at the forefront. For those concerned about safety, there will be viewing areas for vehicles, and the event will be live-streamed on the event’s Facebook page for those who can’t attend.

45 competition balloons during the week will be joined by 20-30 Old West Balloon Fest pilots the final two days of the week-long event.

Johnson says volunteers will be needed, as it takes about 250 for the event to run smoothly. To volunteer, sponsor a balloon, become an approved vendor for more information, you can contact Johnson at or 308-225-0128.

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