Scenic USA - Washington

Winthrop Balloon Roundup

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Winthrop Balloon Roundup - Winthrop Balloon Fest, Washington

Photos by Jim Stiles
Jim Stiles Photography

     Here in Winthrop, during a three day weekend in March, the Methow (met how) Valley becomes a backdrop for Balloon Nighttime Glow a brightly colored assortment of hot air balloons. Ideal ballooning weather means clear and calm skies, something Winthrop festival coordinators pray for. This year’s gathering painted the valley with more than a dozen propane powered balloons, casting their shadows on the slopes of snow covered mountains. Spectators and photographers anxiously Hot Air Balloon awaited the yearly festivities, a wonderful opportunity to witness this picturesque event. On Saturday evening, in the main town square, balloonists put on one remarkable show called the Balloon Glow. Here, fiery blasts from the propane burner light up the night.
     Methow Valley, east of the North Cascades National Park and Washington Pass, is surrounded by the Okanogan National Forest. The Methow River, flowing down from Mount Lago, has carved a broad valley through the eastern Cascade foothills. From the west, Washington Route 20 climbs up and over the Cascade Range and joins the Methow River at Mazana, continuing on to Winthrop. A string of quaint towns, Twisp, Winthrop and Mazana offer plenty of interesting community shops, scenic country roads and thriving art galleries.

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