Hot air balloon classic worthy of another try.
As entertaining as it may be, the annual hot air balloon show has been a topic of debate.
In February, members of the board of the then-Finney County Convention and Tourism Bureau (now the Finney County Convention and Visitors Bureau) were split on whether to launch the Ninth Annual Garden City Hot Air Balloon Classic in 2012.
At issue was whether investing CTB funds for the event made sense.
Windy weather, after all, had led to cancellation of all or parts of a couple of recent hot air balloon classics, 2011 included. The event also wasn't viewed by all on the CTB board — which includes motel operators — as an ideal tourism event in luring people to town who would stay overnight and spend more dollars locally.
In the end, the board opted to give the event at least one more try in 2012. Should the weather cooperate this weekend, the decision to forge ahead with the annual Garden City Hot Air Balloon Classic would be a good one.
The event does draw visitors from outside Garden City, and timing the show with the annual The Sky's the Limit BBQ Classic Saturday at the Clarion Inn only helps.
It's true that not all visitors who come in for the hot air balloon show and barbecue contest stay overnight. But that doesn't mean the time and money they do spend while here isn't welcome.
Plus, an enjoyable experience this weekend could lead to longer visits in the future.
For now, organizers are banking on this year's event having calmer skies for balloon pilots. Timing may help, as last year's show was set for August, and eventually scuttled due to extreme heat and wind.
It was missed by many.
This year's balloon classic starts Friday evening, with early morning balloon launches also planned for Saturday and Sunday. Balloons take off from the Finney County Fairgrounds.
When weather didn't interfere in the past, the colorful balloons of various designs made for an impressive, vibrant display. Anyone who took in the unique experience in the past had to be impressed by an event worthy of being an annual favorite.