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Nite Glow for Simpson Homecoming


Take a step back in time as Simpson College and the National Balloon Classic co-host a special hot air balloon Nite Glow to celebrate Simpson Homecoming.

Simpson College’s 2022 Homecoming celebration will culminate with a special hot air balloon Nite Glow at 6:30 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 15. The event will be held at the College’s intramural soccer fields located on North E Street in Indianola, IA. Please view the attached campus map for reference.

“We are thrilled to partner with the National Balloon Classic to put a beautiful bow on our Homecoming festivities,” said Marsha Kelliher, Simpson College president. “It seems only fitting to have these majestic balloons back on the same campus site where the first hot air balloon competition launched more than 50 years ago. This promises to be a spirit-lifting event for everyone in our community.” 

In 1970, hot air balloon officials decided to host the first competition in Iowa. They say they were drawn to the state’s rural countryside, wide open spaces, and Midwest charm. Event organizers believe they hit the jackpot when they stumbled upon Simpson College.

“They were drawn to the impeccable manicured lawns on Simpson’s beautiful campus and the suitability of the soccer fields, which offered unspoiled space for safe launching and landing,” said Staci Scheurenbrand, National Balloon Classic executive director. Student apartments and dorms became ready-made hotels for pilots, crew, and staff.”

The event quickly soared in popularity with more and more pilots and spectators coming from across the nation every year. By 1989, the event outgrew Simpson’s available space and moved to its current location on the east side of Indianola.

“Indianola became a nirvana for hot air balloons,” said Scheurenbrand. “And the partnership between Simpson College and the National Balloon Classic remains just as vital today as it was the beginning.”

Saturday’s Nite Glow will feature ten tethered balloons. The event is free and open to the public.

Note: Hot air balloon activities are dependent on prevailing weather conditions and subject to weather delays or cancellations. Pilot, crew and guest safety is our priority.