By Alicia Neaves
ALPINE - Saturday kicked off the annual Big Bend Balloon Bash in Alpine. NewsWest 9 is proud to be one of the official sponsors.
Hundreds of residents from Alpine and throughout the state of Texas gathered Saturday morning for the Big Bend Balloon Bash to catch a glimpse of the hot air balloons which looked simply breath-taking flying through the skies of the Big Bend region.
"Most aviation events, the public is kept hundreds of feet away from all the activities. This event right here, you can get out among all the workers and see how everything takes place," President of the Big Bend Hot Air Balloon Association, Ken Clouse, said.
Every Labor Day weekend, the Big Bend Balloon Bash is packed with visitors from inside and outside the Big Bend region.
"It's just a great occasion. Seeing the balloons is a wonderful opportunity and the kids have a great time," Alpine resident, Mark Hannan, said.
Some visitors reminisce.
"Being able to say, 'I went up in those one year,' I love saying that. I couldn't pass up that opportunity," Alpine visitor, Lisa Escobedo, said.
Others, make it a tradition.
"My family, we come down. We bring the grandkids down and wake up early in the morning, come out and see the balloons," Alpine visitor, Annalisa Natividad, said.
This year, ten balloons flew out west.
The sight of all the balloons, combined with the West Texas sunrise, even the kids don't mind getting up early.
"My 4-year-old said, 'Mom, look at all the colors in the sky! Look at the balloons!' I mean, who doesn't love balloons? It's not very often you can see one of these hot air balloons go up. Very limited places do it. So if it's so close, why not come out?" Natividad said.
Some are lucky enough to catch the show from their backyard.
"Once the balloons get airborne, of course, you can see them from miles and miles around," Clouse said.
Best of all, the event is free.
"Just to see how they get them up in the air, they're beautiful. Alpine is a beautiful town so it's a good time to come visit," Alpine resident, Eva Treviño, said.
If you're interested in becoming a potential sponsor for the Big Bend Balloon Bash, visit www.bigbendballoonbash.com.