Hot air balloonists invade Driggs

Hot air balloons taking flight. Photos courtesy of the Teton Valley Balloon Rally.

Come Fourth of July weekend, Driggs will be full of hot air.

Thursday marks the first of a four-day event filled with hot air balloon rides, a parade, food, live music and other activities as part of the 33rd annual Teton Valley Balloon Rally.

The annual Driggs Glow will run from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, and will consist of an art walk through downtown, live music and children’s activities. Weather permitting, participants in the Teton Valley Balloon Rally will inflate hot air balloons.

The real fun starts Friday.

“We always have a couple hundred spectators,” Virginia Powell Symons, event director, said.

The day starts off with an annual parade in Victor at 10:30 a.m. In the evening, the streets will fill as people partake in a sidewalk art competition, take advantage of restaurant specials and visit local shops. The shops will be handing out a playing card to people who purchase items. The person with the best five-card poker hand at the end of the night will win a prize.

At dusk, the balloon pilots will conduct a pyrotechnics show, called the “candlestick glow.”

“When we do a candlestick glow, pilots come out with just basket and burners (from the hot air balloons),” Symons said. “You get to see how high the flames go up. The pilots have some fun with it.”

On Saturday and Sunday, balloon rides will be available to the public at 6 a.m. Advanced tickets will run $275 for one person or $425 for two people. Tickets purchased the day of the ride will be $300 for one person and $500 for two people.

In the evening, there is a sponsor-and-pilot-appreciation dinner. Limited tickets to the public are available for $20. In addition to a barbecue dinner, there will be yard games, a silent auction and live music from the Sons of Bannock out of Pocatello.

“It’s got a lot of history, there are a lot of things going on,” Symons said. “We have four days in a beautiful part of the country. It’s just a lot of fun.”