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Reinhard founded and organized the first Colorado Springs Balloon Classic in 1976, which has become one of the most popular events in our area. The festival became one of the five largest balloon exhibitions in the country, the largest air show in Colorado and named among the top 100 events in North America. It grew from 100 spectators its first year to a record breaking 200,000+ in 2022. The event became known as the Labor Day Lift Off in 2015 and just celebrated its 46th year in Colorado Springs with nearly 80 balloons.
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"If you've ever enjoyed hot air balloons in Colorado Springs, you have Dewey Reinhard to thank," said Mayor John Suthers. "We are grateful that he started a lasting tradition here in Colorado Springs that brings great joy to participants and great benefit to our city."
Reinhard was born in Pueblo in 1930 and graduated from Colorado Springs High School in 1948. He attended college in Colorado before serving in the Navy. Reinhard owned several businesses throughout his career and became interested in ballooning in the 1970s. He has earned various ballooning titles and awards. He founded the Ballooning Society of Pikes Peak and was inducted into the United States Ballooning Hall of Fame in 2011.
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