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Getting into the balloon-festival business

Balloons hover near Bald Eagle Lake in Steamboat Springs in 2018I've been in the local-media business a long time and have gotten my hands into a wide variety of initiatives. And while I've managed events, I've never taken on something of the scope of a hot-air balloon festival. Well, that time has come. 

The Steamboat Springs Chamber of Commerce has handed management of the long-running Steamboat balloon event over the Steamboat Pilot & Today. We're thrilled to be entrusted to take over an iconic event that has brought tens of thousands of visitors to Steamboat over the last 37 years. 

This year's event will be July 13-14, and will feature early morning launches Saturday and Sunday and a Saturday evening "Night Glow" in which the hot-air balloon launches don't lift off but instead deliver a light show as night falls. 

I shadowed chamber staff during the 2018 Hot Air Balloon Rodeo to learn the ropes of putting on the event, and also attended the Soaring above Bald Eagle Lake at the 2018 Steamboat balloon event.much larger Labor Day Liftoff in Colorado Springs to pick up some other ideas. 

There are many things that work well with the Steamboat event, so we plan to protect what's working. One thing we will change is to rename the event the Steamboat Springs Hot Air Balloon Festival.  We will still offer competitions for the balloon pilots -- that's where the Rodeo term comes from -- but want to accentuate the full complement of activities visitors can enjoy while at the three balloon events. 

There is much planning to be done in the coming months, so stay tuned as we move forward. But be sure to block out July 13-14 on your calendars. 


5 Minutes With ... me

Steamboat Pilot & Today publishes a number of magazines throughout the year, including Colorado Hunter, Homefinder, Explore, Best of The Boat, Bike Guide, Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series Guide and Move to Steamboat. 

Move To Steamboat is an annual relocation guide produced in conjunction with the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association

The new 2019 edition of Move To Steamboat is filled with wonderful information about Steamboat/Routt County and its many gifts. The issue also includes a "5 Minutes With" feature on me, among Steamboat's newest residents. But rather than reading that, I encourage you to peruse the e-edition so you can learn a little bit about the terrific community that is small in size but big in just about everything else. 




The Police, Michael Des Barres and the deep breadth of wikis

I've been online for more than 20 years but I continue to be amazed at the depth and breadth of what's online and the passionate people who feed deep content niches.

This was the first of two Fresno shows by The Police.Case in point: I got a Facebook Messenger inquiry from a German who ran across a 2016 Facebook post of mine featuring two tickets from Police concerts in Fresno. He simply wanted to know whether he could repost my photo of my ticket from a 1980 show on his Police Wiki website.  

Say what? A wiki focused on The Police? It's one thing to have a website focused on the band, but a wiki? That's hardcore. 

I'm all for taking care of other passionate music fans, so quickly agreed. So, now the Police Wiki has this lovely addition to its page on the Saturday, Nov. 1, show in which Michael Des Barres opened for The Police. 

I had forgotten Des Barres opened the show, but clearly remember The Police being rattled when the tough crowd at the beautiful Warnor's Theater were not standing during the band's performance. As they later said in Trouser Press magazine, they would never play Fresno again. As you can see in my original Facebook post, the band did return to Fresno to play a stadium show. I guess money can trump ideals. 

As for the tough Fresno crowd, we weren't tough - we just weren't submissive, as Sting thought we should be. I was a major Police fan at that point, but after reading that, I thought, "screw you," and stopped buying their albums, although I cared enough about the band to use a complimentary ticket to see the 1983 concert.

Thanks to Dietmar Cloes for bringing back a wonderful memory and for having the passion to curate and build a small corner of the digital world.