About 20 balloons threw color across the skies Dec. 30-Jan. 2 during the Gila Valley Balloon Extravaganza. The balloons launched from Ruth Powell School in Safford in the early morning, and the event included two nighttime balloon glows. Three balloons carried streamers to remember Andy Richardson, a longtime member of the ballooning community who passed away in 2021. Volunteers helped get the balloons aloft, sending them over the Gila Valley. The event was put on by the Graham County Chamber of Commerce with several sponsors, including the Eastern Arizona Courier.