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BOISE-- The opening day of the 2012 Spirit of Boise BalloonClassic nearly went bust.

Unpredictable winds and a cold front kept about 15 hot air balloons tethered to their stakes at Ann Morrison Park.

However, the organizers of the annual event fired-up fans by offering them a chance to sit in the balloons anyway -- even if it they only floated a few feet above ground.

Mayor Dave Bieter and the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce kicked-off Wednesday's event.

The Spirit of Boise Balloon Classic continues through Sunday, with plenty more chances to see the colorful craft high in the sky.

The entire event is free.

Thursday's VIP and media day events start at 7 a.m. at Ann Morrison Park.

See the full event guide here.

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