Jon Johnson File Photo/Gila Herald: Balloon launches will take place Thursday-Sunday (weather permitting) and there will be a Balloon Glow on Friday and Saturday nights.
SAFFORD – This is the last chance to find a duck to be registered in a drawing for a free hot-air balloon ride during the third annual Gila Valley Balloon Extravaganza.
To register, locate a duck in a participating business and take the duck to the register to receive your coupon to register for the drawing. The winner will be drawn Wednesday, Dec. 28. Applicants must be 18 or older to register and fly.
Participating businesses include Copper & Cotton, Debbies Enchanted Boutique, Gila Outdoor, Ginaveve’s, Green’s Furniture, H&S Feed Tack & Western Wear, Lee’s Rite-Way, Marcia’s Garden, Pollock’s Western Outfitters, and The Wear.
The giveaway is part of the third annual Gila Valley Balloon Extravaganza that will take place Dec. 29, 2022 – Jan. 1, 2023 – weather permitting.
The event is hosted by Greg and Susan Lindsey with AZ Air Ventures, who pilot two hot-air balloons locally.
After several years of having balloon pilot Debbi Waltman, of Colorado, come and visit and fly with them for a week around New Year’s, another friend, Bruce Dodson, of Phoenix, joined the group in 2019/2020. From there it grew into the inaugural Safford Balloon Extravaganza in 2020/21 and into the Gila Valley New Year’s Balloon Extravaganza in 2021/22.
This year’s event will include balloon launches from Ruth Powell Elementary School in Safford each morning starting at 7:30 a.m. The event is sponsored by AZ Air Ventures, which encourages the public to come to view the launches and converse with the pilots.
There will also be a Balloon Glow on Friday night from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at a location yet to be announced, a Saturday Night Glow Party, including a Candlestick Glow Party from 6 to 8:30 p.m., and a New Year’s Balloon Glow and Balloon Drop at 8:30 p.m.
Organizers are also looking for volunteer crew members to assist with the number of balloons.
For more information visit gilavalleyballoons.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.