Balloon Fest a true community event

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When visitors come to Marysville for the All-Ohio Balloon Fest next week, they won’t just see a fun event for the whole family – they’ll see a community coming together.
The All-Ohio Balloon Festival, running Tuesday Aug. 9 to Saturday Aug. 11, is an event that sees Marysville coming together as a community.
This is likely most apparent in the involvement of Impact60, headed up by Honda of Marysville owner Bruce Daniels.
Impact60 has been helping with organization of the event, including bringing rock legends ZZ Top to perform on Thursday, Aug. 9. However, while they’re help is making the concert possible, it’s helping Marysville too.
Impact 60 will donate all proceeds from Thursday ticket sales to the Hope Center.
“We’ve not seen sales so consistent throughout the summer before,” said Journal-Tribune Publisher Kevin Behrens. “Usually there’s a lull.”
The spirit of community is also shown in Roy Heflin and Rick Crago. Both local caterers have contributed to the Balloon Fest in past years by offering bands and performers lunch and dinner for free. Behrens said their goal is to make sure people remember Marysville.
“They want to make sure the bands leave town knowing some of the best food Marysville has to offer,” Behrens said. “They want to make sure they talk about Marysville when they leave.”
Behrens said both men reached out to him, unsolicited.
For Behrens, the fact that Crago and Heflin called reassured him that the event is going the way it should.
Behrens said getting a call from them makes him feel as if the festival is heading in the right direction.
“Because they’re wanting to jump on board and help you,” he said.
In an interview, Heflin said he wanted to volunteer his catering expertise because he wanted to “give back to the community.”
He said working the All-Ohio Balloon Fest is fun because he gets to be around music.
“When you cook every day, these are kind of fun events,” he said.
Festival organizer Marie Woodford and Behrens also highlighted the importance of the rest of the event’s volunteers. Behrens said it takes about 200 volunteers to make sure the festival happens.
Woodford said her own church, Marysville Christian Church, has helped out at the event for 13 years. And this year, the Vine Church of Marysville is helping with Kidz City.
“That’s a big deal, because these people put their lives on hold that weekend,” Woodford said.
Event organizers are also working closely with the City of Marysville to make sure traffic flow in the area doesn’t get out of hand. Woodford said one of the biggest things she sees on social media is people worried about traffic during the festival. The entrance of the festival will be at 15000 Weaver Road, which should help with some of the concerns.
Behrens and Woodford said they’re looking forward to working with Impact60 going forward.
“We definitely would want to,” Behrens said. “As the partnership evolves with Impact60, we hope even more of the community gets involved.”
Overall, Behrens said the event will grow as long as the community’s involvement grows.
“You always need volunteers, you always need peoples’ input,” he said. “The better the festival does, the better Impact60 does, and the more of those money’s can be used locally to help foster future growth.
Growth comes in different ways. The Columbus ABC affiliate, WSYX, will be at the event on Friday to shine a light on the Marysville community. It will be part of the “Sizzling Summer” series to show several summer events in Central Ohio. Between Impact60; Crago and Heflin; and the volunteers, WSYX will see a lot of positivity.
“The more the community gets involved, the better the festival grows,” said Journal-Tribune Publisher Kevin Behrens.
Tickets will be available online at eventbrite.com and at the Journal-Tribune office for $30 through Wednesday, Aug. 8. After that, tickets will be available at the J-T office and at the festival gate for $40, and weekend passes will be $10.



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