7 special-shape balloons featured at Colorado Springs Labor Day Lift Off 2022

Special-shape balloons appearing during the 2002 Labor Day Lift Off in Colorado Springs.
Published: Aug. 31, 2022 at 7:48 PM MDT
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - One of the best things about Labor Day Lift Off in Colorado Springs is that there’s always something new to see!

2022 is no exception.

There are seven special shapes in the field and in the sky for both the morning launches, and evening glows this Labor Day weekend.

“They’re both just very happy and it makes people happy to see them happy,” pilot Tony Sandlin said of the monster and fish balloons pictured below:

RIGHT: Finley the Fish piloted by Andrew Brindley. LEFT: Ivo piloted by Justin Cox
RIGHT: Finley the Fish piloted by Andrew Brindley. LEFT: Ivo piloted by Justin Cox(Photo courtesy Tony Sandlin)

The smiles on the faces of Finley the Fish and Ivo will greet thousands of visitors to this year’s Labor Day Lift Off. Two unique characters, each with a unique shape, and story. 

“The fish has the fins on the side and the back, so it gives it more of a shape,” Sandlin explained. “It doesn’t look just like a balloon. Same with Ivo. He’s very big and tall and has the spikes down the back.”

Sandlin says Finley the Fish and Ivo are relatively new balloons. Colorado Springs is one of only a few events they have flown at over the past four years.

All seven special-shape balloons include:

-Finley the Fish piloted by Andrew Brindley

-Frog piloted by Jeff Buesing

-Chris P. Bacon (a pig) piloted by Jordan Cox

-Ivo the monster piloted by Justin Cox

-Allycorn the Unicorn piloted by Chris Liberti

-Master Yoda piloted by Michael Lambert

-Darth Vadar piloted by Michael Shrum

Vadar and Yoda, a couple of well-known figures from “Star Wars,” last visited Colorado Springs in 2018. You can see a full list of the balloons and pilots at the bottom of this article.

Sandlin pilots one of the Rainbow Ryders balloons. He hopes his balloons and others “inflate” excitement for his air sport.

“A lot of people don’t really understand how a balloon operates and how it works,” Sandlin explained. “The more questions they ask, the better, and we love to share that knowledge. The best part about learning is sharing it with other people.”

With 76 balloons painting the sky over Memorial Park, there’s bound to be no shortage of inspiration.

“Once you’re in the sky, the background of Pikes Peak is amazing,” Sandlin added. “You can’t get that anywhere else. You come to Indiana, I’ll show you corn and beans. Out there, you get Pikes Peak!”

There are only about 100 special-shape balloons flying in the United States.

Click here for more details on the event including a schedule.