Socorro Balloon Rally returns

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Beginning at 7 a.m. Saturday at the Socorro Recreation complex, 10 hot air balloons and skydivers will ascend into the clouds and return to earth. Liftoff is at the new City of Socorro Recreation facility located on Highway 60, west of Socorro General Hospital. NOTE: You cannot access the Rally via Highway 60. To access turn west on the dirt road at the south end of Fairgrounds Road, just north of the Socorro County Fair Grounds.

In 1999, the first Socorro Balloon Rally was held with 23 balloons attending. It continued for nine years, in which it had as many as 43 balloons in attendance.

After a four-year hiatus, the rally returns to fly over Socorro and is supported by the city.

Organizer and Socorro balloonist Mike Shrum has been a pilot since 1998, and owns and operates the Chili Ristra balloon. He also operates the Space Shuttle balloon “Patriot” and the lighthouse special shape balloon “FlightHouse,” which are owned by Barry DillBero from West Vincent Township, Pa.

Mike has flown more than 700 hours in balloons, is a commercially-rated pilot and has participated in events in France, Japan, Thailand, Mexico and the Phillipines. He has participated in the largest annual event in Albuquerque for 12 years.

The event is free to the public. There are available passenger rides at a cost of $150 per person. To book a ride, call (616) 893-3457 and ask for Mike.