Thousands of visitors attended the two-day event, which all total was much drier than last year's inaugural stampede. Country, pop and rock bands entertained the crowds, vendors did such brisk business they nearly sold out of food, and more than a dozen balloonists were more than happy to show off their colors.
"I cancelled out of another balloon event in Nevada just so I could come to the stampede," said Kent Barnes, who flew his balloon named Out of the Blue. Due to a controlled burn on the south end of the island, the guests and balloonists were able to catch sight of several of the island's native animals. "Antelope Island is such an enchanting place to fly."
Though safety was always the foremost concern, early winds even added a little spice to the event.
"Part of the challenge of flying is understanding what Mother Nature gave you for the day and figuring out how to still get the flight you want," said Barnes.
Most of the balloons made it into the sky, some carrying passengers, both Friday and Saturday morning as well as Friday evening. On Friday evening the public was also able to witness the Balloon Glow, where the fire that normally sends the balloons soaring upward served a different purpose.
"The balloons all stood up and were shining like lightbulbs," said Barnes. "It was beautiful."
For many balloonists, however, a great portion of the event was spent helping people understand and explore the sport that brought them all together in the first place.
"I love introducing people to the sport of flight," said Barnes. "Pilots by their very nature like people to come and participate. They ask questions like what certain parts of the balloon are made of and if the pilots are afraid of heights, or they come and take a look at the basket."
Even Saturday's pre-dawn beginning wasn't a barrier to Davis County residents' curiosity.
"Hot air balloons are something people can relate to," said Barnes. "With other types of aircraft, they're here and gone too fast. The experience of watching a hot air balloon take off has a much longer duration.
"They're such a personal, tactile means of experiencing aviation. You can smell the burners and actually walk up and touch the balloon for yourself."