Grande Prairie Hot Air Balloon Events Assoc. Trumpeter Balloon Club

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Grande Prairie Hot Air Balloon Events Assoc. Trumpeter Balloon Club

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In 1979, the Grande Prairie Chamber of Commerce hosted the Canadian Hot Air Balloon Championships in Grande Prairie for the first time, and the public was hooked! The next January, the Grande Prairie Hot Air Balloon Events Assoc. was formed. Their mission was "to provide the best opportunities for people to learn, observe, socialize, and/or participate in the exciting and unique sport of Hot Air Ballooning and to make Grande Prairie the Hot Air Balloon capital of Canada and the World."; With this mission in mind, the Association and hundreds of volunteers began an enthusiastic program of events. They hosted the Canadian National Hot Air Balloon Championships for the next two years (1980 and 1981) and again in 1983. They worked closely with the Trumpeter Swan Balloon Club, holding the 1980 event in conjunction with Alberta's 75th Anniversary. In 1983 they began a bid for the World Hot Air Balloon Championships but withdrew in favour of Paris, where ballooning had begun exactly 200 years earlier. They then made a serious bid for the 1985 World Hot Air Balloon Championship, but it was not successful. At the same time they organized the 1984 North American Championships in Grande Prairie. In 1989 and 1992 the Association again hosted the Canadian Nationals, and in 1986, 1993 and 1998 the Alberta Championships. With dwindling volunteers the organization turned its attention to small local events in conjunction with the Trumpeter Swan Balloon Club, and in 1996 the club and association amalgamated under the Events Assoc. With the merger came the Club's Hot Air Balloon, "The Spirit of Grande Prairie." About this time, the association found that doing smaller events not sanctioned by the Candian Balloon Society and tying in with other community groups and activities garnered more interest in the sport of ballooning, as well as being more fun and less cost. Although they would host the Canadian Nationals again in 2002, the large events were not pursued with the same energy. Taking their place were community events such as the RCMP Anniversary Balloon, the Sunrise Festival, the Canada Day Parade and Evening Night Glow, and the Sports Expo.


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