COLORADO SPRINGS — Partnerships for 46th Labor Day Lift Off with the Rainbow Ryders announced new festival highlights for 2022.

Colorado Springs Labor Day Lift Off is ranked in the top balloon festivals in the world by US News and World Report. New data by the Visit Colorado Springs estimates this event brings in $9.4 million.

Balloons gather at Memorial Park Friday morning, ahead of this weekend's Labor Day Lift Off. / Krista Witiak - FOX21 News
Balloons gather at Memorial Park Friday morning, ahead of this weekend’s Labor Day Lift Off. / Krista Witiak – FOX21 News

A few traditions will return again to the festival this year:

  • Balloon Lift-Offs & Balloon Glows: 75 balloons will float in the Colorado Springs sky for the largest balloon festival in Colorado. Daily morning balloon lift-offs will be from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m.
    • Sunset balloon glows will start at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 3 & Sept. 4.
  • Hot Air Balloon Rides by Rainbow Ryders: Hot air balloon adventures will be provided by Rainbow Ryders daily. Guests will fly among many balloons and each flight will be approximately 45 to 60 minutes long.
    • The check-in tent will be located at Memorial Park.
    • Rates will start at $345 per person.
  • Krispy Kreme Donut Eating Contest: The annual Donut Eating Contest sponsored by Krispy Kreme, will take place on Sept. 3 & Sept. 4 at 9 a.m. on the main stage. 
The 2016 Labor Day Lift Off Photo by Larry Marr

New 2022 festival highlights include:

  • Colorado Springs Aloft: The Colorado Springs Aloft is joining the balloon festival and will take place in the Pavilion at the Banning Lewis Ranch on Sept. The kick-off event will feature food trucks, music, family activities, and balloons.
  • Special Shapes: The special shapes balloon event will include the return of Darth Vader, Yoda and Kermit the Frog.
    • Brand new balloon shapes will also debut this year including Chris P. Bacon, Finley the Fish, Allycorn the Unicorn and Friendly Monster.
  • Orangetheory 5K Race: A significant change to the festival this year is the launch of the Orangetheory 5K race at Labor Lift Off which will take place on Sept. 4 at 9 a.m.
    • The 5K will start at the IAFF Fallen Firefighters Memorial (northwest corner of Memorial Park), head through the side streets of Memorial Park, around Prospect Lake and finish at Memorial Park.
    • Before the race, all guests are invited to arrive early and watch over 75 balloons take to the sky and enjoy shopping and local vendors. 
  • Labor Day Lift Off Lounge: The festival will now include a Labor Day Lift Off Lounge, for an exclusive VIP experience. This special ticket will grant access to complimentary food, drinks, reserved seating, private restrooms, and a parking pass. All VIP ticket purchasers will be entered into a drawing for two FREE balloon rides from Rainbow Ryders.
    • VIP tickets are $115 and can be purchased here. VIP tickets can be purchased from now through August 22. 
  • Balloon, Brews, and Bites Happy Hour: This event will feature discounted drinks, live music, and early access to family-fun activities. The happy hour will take place from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 3 and Sept. 4.
Labor Day Lift Off 3 Photo credit Shawn Shanle - FOX21 News


  • Concert Series: A concert series will be kicked off by local bands, Missy and the Dirty Secrets and Mosquito Pass, winners of the 2021 Battle of the Bands. The series will continue with fan favorites such as The Martini Shot Band, Mile High Rock Band, and Reminiscent Souls ft. Suga Bear & Lady Shay.
  • Fireworks Show: Guests should stay tuned for the announcement of a potential fireworks show! To be announced at a later date.