BOISE, Idaho — The Spirit of Boise Balloon Classic wrapped up Sunday morning with an impressive launch: 44 hot air balloons all taking flight at the same time.
Ingrid Martell was the pilot of one of the balloons and said this all started for her while she was on a hot air balloon ride.
"I got my first balloon ride in 2001. We weren't even back on the ground yet; I made arrangements to buy and learn to fly a balloon," Martell said.
Along with the pilots, a large crowd of people made it out to Ann Morrison Park bright and early, some for the first time like Kate Nakamura-Stein and her family.
"We just decided to do it just because of, you know, last year being inside the whole time, being COVID and all of that," Nakamura-Stein said.
For others, this is a yearly tradition.
For James Serre and his family, the event has a big memory attached to it: a proposal.
"Met one of the pilots and talked to her and said, "Hey, I'd like to propose to her," and she goes, "Let's go," so off we went," Serre said.
Martell and her husband have been coming to Boise for this event for five or six years. She said it's the friendliness of the city that keeps them coming back, but it's a different feeling that keeps Martell piloting her hot air balloon.
"It's a free feeling. You're up above it all. It all falls away," she said.