Thank you Jessie Rodgers for this video of the event.
Planning for the Extravaganza 2023-2024 Is In Full Swing and Scheduled
The Gila Valley New Year's Balloon Extravaganza is continuing for its FOURTH YEAR after a very successful event last year. The event was able to fly two days and the Home Depot and Super Glow Show was packed with people from our community. The Extravaganza committee will continue to bring balloons to the Gila Valley for the New Year's weekend being the last and first balloon rally in the nation for 2023-2024 year.
The committe is looking for sponsors for the event which last year brought in 20 pilots from Utah, Colorado, California, New Mexico and Arizona along with 75+ family and crew members. All 20 pilots loved visiting the Gila Valley and are already making plans to return this year.
AZ Air Ventures and the Gila Valley Balloon Extravaganza are excited to invite you to ring in the new year at our events.
BALLOON LAUNCHES 7:30 AM (weather permitting)
Balloons will be launching (weather permitting) each morning starting at 7:30 AM in the field to the southeast of Ruth Powell School. Parking is available in the Ruth Powell parking lot.
This event is brought to you by AZ Air Ventures. Our goal is to provide the community with a ballooning experience free of charge. Please come and feel welcomed to get up close and personal with the pilots and balloons. Ask pilots lots of questions.
Want to Fly at the Event?
Become a sponsor and receive tickets to fly at the event. There are three different sponsorship levels. Visit our sponsor page to get information or go to bit.ly/gilavalleysponsor to sign up.
If you want to volunteer, sign up to be crew. Crew members who help all days may get to fly. Check out the Crew Sign Up Page to volunteer.
Friday and Saturday Glows
Come experience the beauty of a balloon glow where balloons inflate (weather permitting) after dark and stay on the field for you to enjoy. During balloon glows, spectators can come right up to the baskets (and maybe even go inside a basket) talk to the pilot and crew, and enjoy the specatular beauty of these magestic giants that stand seven stories high.
During our Glow Party on New Year's Eve, we will candlestick first, where pilots will have their baskets on the field shooting flames from their powerful burners. Then some of the balloons will inflate at 9:15 PM and we will ring in the New Year early with a balloon drop at 10 PM. Starting at 7:00 pm, there will be free tether rides for children first come first serve (weather permitting). There will also be a snow machine at the site.
For several years, pilot Debbi Waltman of Colorado, good friends with Greg and Susan Lindsey, would come to Safford for a week during New Years to escape the Colorado cold and the three would enjoy flying in the Gila Valley. In 2019-2020, Bruce Dodson drove from Phoenix and we had four balloons in the air. In 2020-2021, Valerie Favicchio, also of Colorado, learned of our little tradition and asked to join creating what became known as the first Safford Balloon Extravaganza. Word spread, and soon Gary Macguire of Colorado, Keith Evans of Utah, and Andy Richardson of Indiana all came to join. Seven balloons flew the skies above the Gila Valley ringing in the 2021 year. From great mornings flying to sitting around the campfire at the Lindsey home, everyone had such an amazing time, they asked if we could do this again next year, and of course we said ABSOLUTELY!
And so began the Saffod Balloon Extravaganza. The Lindsey's hosted and the amazing Duckling Crew provided food for all of the pilots who came . The community responded well and were thrilled to see seven balloon flying. Thanks to some city council members and the Graham County Chamber of Commerce, we gained community support and the name was changed from the Safford Balloon Extravaganza to the Gila Valley New Year's Balloon Extravaganza in 2021-2022. As the last rally of the year in the nation and the first rally of each year in the nation, we are excited to host balloon pilots who come from multiple states to help us ring out the old year and in the new year!
Generous Support of our Future Sponsors for 2023/2024...
AZ Air Ventures and the Duckling Crew created the Gila Valley New Year's Balloon Extravaganza as a free event for our community to enjoy. It is only through the generous support of our sponsors that we are able to bring these majestic balloons to the Gila Valley. Each balloon we bring in is based on of our local businesses generously giving financial support to make this event happen. Please help us thank our sponsors.