Friday, November 17, 2006

Colorado River Crossing Balloon Festival

Colorado River Crossing Balloon Festival

What: About 50 balloons will launch at dawn. One evening, selected
balloonists will participate in a balloon glow, where tethered balloons will
fill with light as pilots fire their gas jets.

When: 7:15 a.m. today; 7:15 a.m. (launch) and 5:30 p.m. (balloon glow)
Saturday; 7:15 a.m. Sunday.

Where: Yuma and the neighboring city of Winterhaven, Calif. Today's launch
is at Quechan Paradise Casino, 485 Quechan Road, Winterhaven (across the
Colorado River from Yuma). Launches Saturday and Sunday are at Cibola High
School, 4100 W. 20th St., Yuma. Saturday's balloon glow is at the Ray Kroc
Complex, 3500 S. Avenue A, Yuma. To get to Yuma from central Phoenix, take
Interstate 10 west about 30 miles to Arizona 85, then go 33 miles south on
85 to Interstate 8. Go west 114 miles to Yuma.

Admission: Free. Food and beverages will be sold.

Details: 1-(928)-343-1715,

Highlight: Get an invigorating start Saturday at the 6-10 a.m. breakfast at
Cibola High School. For $6 you can choose from pancakes, eggs, bacon, coffee
and other beverages.

Don't miss: Students who have made balloons from tissue paper will set them
aloft at 4 p.m. Saturday at the Ray Kroc Complex. Free.

While you're there: Visit the Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park
and see why many people obeyed the law in the late 1800s. Though the prison
is in ruins, you will get a good idea of its dark and dank nature. It's open
8 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. Visit on a Sunday through April and watch an Old West
re-enactment. The park is at 1 Prison Hill Road.

Lodging: If you like to spread out, try SpringHill Suites by Marriott, just
off I-8, 1-800-246-8357. For a centrally located hotel, call Best Western
Coronado Motor Hotel, 1-(928)-783-4453. The budget-minded may opt for Days
Inn, 1-800-754-6835.

Dining: If you like wings, visit the Crossing, known for its bar-friendly
food. 2690 S. Fourth Ave., 1-(928)-726-5551. There's more than burgers and
beer at Burgers & Beer, but most are there for the burgers and beer. 321 W.
20th St., 1-(928)-783-3987. For elegant dining, head to Ciao Bella
Ristorante Italiano, 2255 S. Fourth Ave., 1-(928)-783-3900.

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