Walla Walla’s annual Balloon Stampede returns this weekend to its previous site, enabling up to 32 balloons to launch at the same time.
From 1990 to 1997, the Stampede’s hot air balloons launched from Howard-Tietan Park. In recent years they’ve flown from Garrison Middle School, but only three or four at a time. Returning to the park provides extra room for near-simultaneous mass launches.
This year also marks the Stampede’s switch from Mother’s Day weekend in May to a fall event. Fall temperatures and atmospheric conditions are more stable and enable the balloons to stay aloft longer, event organizers say.
“I promised this community I’d return this thing to its roots, and that’s what I’m doing,” Stampede producer Scott Spencer told the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin. Read the U-B article.