Medora closes summer 2020 with hot air balloon show

Those in attendance on Saturday witnessed the most hot air balloons the event has ever had in its history of the event. (Courtesy of Megan Klassen)

After an eventful summer choked full of Medora Musicals and festivities, that time of year has come again when all must say goodbye for another long winter. With it's official close, attendees gathered in the Badlands and watched as summer soared away with a fantastic Hot Air Balloon Rally and Kite Flying event. But in true 2020 fashion, the final day was dealt a disappointing cancellation — not because of COVID-19, but because of mother nature.

Dozens of watchers were attracted to the Western Edge on Saturday to watch the colorful balloons create a scene above the Badlands making a picture as beautiful as a painting. The event turned out to be the largest showing of hot air balloons in the history of the event.

“One of the most gorgeous flights I have flown in my decades as a pilot. The light fog in the draws was stunning in its effect. Not a cloud in the sky. The Badlands were fully showing their abundant beauty,” said John Boulger, Medora Foundation Balloon Meister.

People of all ages, including families came to watch the sun rise and the beautiful hot air balloons float peacefully in the sky.

“This was the first year that my family & I bundled-up to watch Saturday’s balloon launch at sunrise. I’ve been before – but it was the first time for our littles. Their favorite part – the launch of the pumpkin balloon & chasing the balloons, Megan Klassen, director of marketing & communications at the Dickinson Area Chamber, said. My favorite part was how excited everyone was to be there – both the crowd & the pilots! It was the largest crowd I’ve seen – spread out over two fields.


The event was then closed out by the final Medora Musical performances of the season. Despite the sad ending to yet another great summer of performances, Medora had one final day on Sunday to get a repeat of Saturday’s beautiful sights. But then, disappointment shook the beautiful skies.

Those who waited until Sunday were greeted to strong winds that cancelled the second day’s programming. Forcing them to wait until 2021 to get another glimpse of the spectacular views and hot air balloons.

Despite the sad ending, fans are already looking forward to seeing them again next summer when the balloons take to the sky.

“If you haven’t been – get it in your calendar for next year! ” Klassen said.

Matthew Curry is a sports reporter and photographer for the West Central Tribune.
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