Balloon Fest sets single-day attendance record


It was a record-setting day Saturday at the All Ohio Balloon Fest at the Union County Airport. About 13,000 patrons enjoyed hot air balloons, food vendors and music on the URE stage. Above, for the first time, festival goers were able to participate in an “Albuquerque glow” where patrons are able to stand underneath balloons inflated over their heads. You can see more related pictures on page 1A and 1B of the Monday Marysville Journal Tribune paper.
(All Ohio Balloon Fest photos by Paul Vernon.)
It was a record setting Saturday for the All Ohio Balloon Fest.
Festival organizers said Saturday’s attendance of about 13,000 set a single day record for the event, which celebrated its 42nd year over the weekend. Organizers said, overall, about 22,000 patrons attended the event.
“Our tag line is ‘Come for the balloons, stay for the bands’ and we sent that message all over the Midwest,” Kevin Behrens, balloon fest coordinator said.
He said the festival used a variety of methods to tell people about the event, which featured more than 20 hot air balloons as well as musical performances by country music legend Clint Black, 80’s rockers Night Ranger and tribute band Bon Journey on the URE stage.
“So we expected really big crowds this weekend,” Behrens said.
Organizers said the perfect weather, combined with the concert by Black and rising country star Karen Waldrup made for, “a great opening day.”
The weather was less cooperative Friday.
“We didn’t have the really big crowd we wanted because of the rain Friday, but we knew there would be a lot of people back on Saturday with the predicted favorable forecast,” said Behrens. Because of the rain balloons were not able to launch Friday but that didn’t stop Night Ranger from taking the URE stage to entertain festival-goers.
Behrens said the weekend pass allowed Friday patrons to return Saturday.
“The weekend pass allows the patrons to come back the second day with no additional gate fee, so that helped set a record for single day attendance of 13,000 on Saturday,” Behrens said.
Patrons are encouraged to continue sharing photos on Facebook and Instagram using #AllOhioBalloonFest2017.
He credited the hundreds of community members volunteering to make the event a positive experience.
“It takes a lot of volunteers to handle the crowds when they swell to record numbers like they did Saturday,” Behrens said.
He specifically mentioned Rich Rausch, with St. John’s Lutheran Church, who rounded-up volunteers to be on the balloon crews and staff the Sam Jackson Auto Body Kidz City.
“Other people that need to be recognized for their efforts are Marie Woodford and her church for their efforts to man the front gate as well as the Journal-Tribune employees that donated their time,” Behrens said.
Organizers also noted the work done by Shari Marsh, executive director of United Way of Union County.
Behrens said the United Way of Union County, “did a great job getting the people to help handle the parking.”

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