Our Northwest

Walla Walla hot-air balloons mark 40 years

Friday, May 9, 2014by  Jon Osterberg

On Mother’s Day weekend, the Walla Walla Balloon Stampede returns to its roots for its 40th anniversary.
   Thirty-five hot-air balloons will rise Friday through Sunday at 6 a.m. each day from Garrison Middle School. In recent years the Stampede had been based at the Walla Walla County Fairgrounds, with many secondary events and vendors. This year, the focus returns to the spectacle of balloons filling the sky.
   Disney’s Mickey Mouse balloon will make a special appearance at the Stampede.
   The first Balloon Stampede didn’t actually take place in Walla Walla. In 1974, four hot-air balloons climbed aloft from a wheat field at the Nat Vale ranch near Prescott, Wash., 20 miles north of Walla Walla. The Stampede later migrated to Walla Walla High School, Tieton Park, and the Fairgrounds.
   This year the popular “NiteGlow” after-dark event takes place at Walla Walla Community College. Read the Union-Bulletin article for more details.

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