Frederick in Flight - Hot Air Balloon Festival

It’s with disappointed hearts that we must inform you we are canceling the annual Frederick in Flight Hot air Balloon Festival 2020. We start planning Frederick in Flight in November, and our anticipation and excitement build with every detail that comes together for the event. Unfortunately, no one could have predicted the impact of COVID-19. After consulting with our balloonmeister, the Carbon Valley Emergency Operations Center, Weld County Health Department and the State of Colorado, it is in the best interest of our community to cancel Frederick in Flight previously scheduled for June 26, 27 & 28. 

A great event is built on quality, safety and engagement, and we strive to bring these to each town event. Very simply, the Frederick in Flight event the community deserves and is expecting (and that we all want), isn’t the event that can occur. While this is disappointing, and we know our community is eager for engagement, we aren’t giving up hope. We look forward to events where we can all come together safely as a community. We have already started to plan for our 10th Anniversary Frederick in Flight 2021!

As event planners, communicators and engagement managers, we thrive off of the organized chaos of event planning that ultimately benefits our amazing community. We greatly value your enthusiasm and participation in all of our events. So, thank you!
hot air balloon with "we will rise above" in balloon

What factors did the Town of Frederick consider to cancel Frederick in Fight?

1. Hot Air Balloons and pilots. You cannot have a hot air balloon festival without balloons and pilots! When consulting with our Hot Air Balloon Meister who schedules the hot air balloons and pilots, we were given the following facts:

  •  Pilot applications have been slow, with some pilots canceling their participation (currently have 16 pilots, when we look for 40)
  •  Several pilots are nervous about attending due to spectators not wearing masks and ignoring distancing guidelines
  • All pilots have stated they are unable to carry passengers (sponsors) 
  • Safety officers have canceled their involvement with the event, which is essential for any ballooning activity
  • Frederick In Flight is the only major balloon event in June that has not canceled.
  • "We are concerned for the health and safety of our pilots, crews, sponsors, volunteers and spectators given all of unknowns surrounding the ongoing Covid19 pandemic. Restrictions mandated by the state health department would create a scaled-back event creating a much less enjoyable experience for all attendees.  We know that many people will have concerns about attending and we want people to be able to come out, have a great time and be able to interact with the balloonists.  Ballooning is an activity not conducive to social distancing," Frederick in Flight Balloon Meister.
  • "And what about landowners? Imagine the reaction of a landowner who has been shut-in for days (maybe weeks), possibly with their children home as well, when you and a gang of people (passengers & crew) show up unexpected and uninvited on their property, acting for all the world as if it’s just another day. Or perhaps you’ll land in a schoolyard or at a church, or a park or other public property closed to its normal activities specifically for the purpose of keeping people from gathering in close proximity. Now consider the news media – keen to report any story suggesting some people see the guidelines as something only others should follow. How will your flight be perceived by them and their millions of viewers, most of whom have also been struggling with this pandemic and may already have had a friend or loved one succumb to the disease?" - Balloon Federation of America.

2. Sponsors

  • Did you know the cost of the event is approximately $60,000? Our sponsorship goal is $60,000. We understand the financial hardships are affecting everyone, including many businesses that would have normally sponsored this event. We did not feel that asking our local community for sponsorship money was the right thing to do. Our focus is on finding ways to benefit the business community at this time. 

3. Weld County Health Department

  • "We are currently not processing applications for these events due to the current Executive Order regarding limitations on any large gatherings. It is still too early to know if and when events of such a size will be permitted again.”

4. State of Colorado Governor’s Office

  • The Governor’s Executive Order 2020-044 in II.H.3 directs CDPHE to create Public Health Order 20-28 and prohibit public gatherings of ten (10) persons or more in both public spaces and private commercial venues.   
  •  EO 2020-044 and PHO 20-28 are the law of the land for now unless a county has received a county variance.

5. Carbon Valley Emergency Operations Manager 

  • "I’ve reviewed the current Colorado “Safer-At-Home” (Phase 2) guidance, as well as the anticipated next “Protect Our Neighbors (Phase 3)” talking points. As you are aware, under the current guidance gatherings of more than 10 people are not allowed, and the specifics of the next phase with regard to the size of gatherings allowed or conditions on physical distancing are not known at this time.  As far as I know Governor Polis has not indicated a clear timeline for moving to the next phase.  In addition, there is some concern that we may see a surge or second wave of cases of COVID-19 in late May into mid-June as we begin to open things up again. My recommendation is to be as consistent with County and State guidance as possible, and I think it would be appropriate to consider canceling Frederick in Flight for 2020.

6. Event Planning

  • In Frederick, we are fortunate to have a community that loves engaging at events! Each year, we plan for 5000 - 7000 people to attend Frederick in Flight, with an additional 400- 600 volunteers and 50 -150 vendors or vendor employees. Currently (5/21/2020) in-person gatherings are limited to a maximum of 10 people. While we are hopeful for this number to increase prior to Frederick in Flight, we are not confident this limitation will increase to the tune of 5000 - 7000 people. 
  • With an event of this scale, year-round planning is required because there are many logistical elements of the event like multiple agency permitting, rentals, beer garden coordination, entertainment, food trucks, vendors, volunteers, event safety, sponsors, event sanitation, signage, communications and marketing. Our Communications & Engagement Department, a team of two people, is responsible for planning all town events and every detail (and more) listed above. With each detail that is coordinated, the Communications & Engagement Department gets excited and hopeful for the event. Canceling any event is a last-resort option, and it’s heartbreaking for us too.
  • We are a town that is Built on What Matters. For events, this means we strive to plan events based on quality over quantity, safety over jeopardy and engagement over separation. With ballooning safety officers pulling out of the event, pilots electing to not participate, and the current limitations placed on events, Frederick in Flight wouldn’t look like the event we are all wanting, expecting and deserve. 

Our sponsors make community engagement possible and we are grateful for their partnerships and continued support! 

Carbon Valley Academy  |  Centennial Lending  |  Crestone Peak Resources  |  FCI Constructors, Inc.

Frederick Development Company Inc.  |  JK Transports  |  North Range Behavioral Health 

Redemption Road Coffee  |  Renewal by Andersen  |  Silverstone Development Company Inc.

St. Vrain Sanitation District  |  Stapp Interstate Toyota  |  Storm Guard  |  timberLAND

United Power  |  UnitedHealthcare  |  ZADEL Realty

You make the crazy ideas we dream up for community engagement possible.

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Frederick in Flight Photo
Frederick in Flight Photo
Frederick in Flight Photo
Frederick in Flight Photo
Frederick in Flight Photo