|Hot Air Festival plans new event|
|Wednesday, July 10, 2013 12:22 AM|
BY LINDSAY MCCOY
VAN WERT - The 2013 Van Wert Hot Air Festival will be a full three-day event this year beginning at 3 p.m. on Sept. 6 and concluding Sept. 8. Saturday and Sunday will include a brand new event that will include a handful of balloons taking flight before sunrise.
“Anyone who has ever seen a hot balloon event will be thrilled by this year’s festival,” said Event Coordinator Jerry Mazur. “The festival will feature a new event never before seen in Van Wert — the Dawn Patrol — which will be followed by a large breakfast.”
A total of 17 balloons will be taking flight in two separate launches each day with five balloons taking off before dawn. Friday’s launches are impromptu and will be determined by balloon pilots and safety crews. Mazur was very thankful for all the area businesses that have come together to sponsor this event to make it possible for a second year.
Just like last year, charity tethered balloon rides will be available for free for those locally who are challenged. Elderly in the nursing home hoping to cross off a bucket list item will also be invited to partake in this special event. Last year brought 150 people to claim their free ride; this year more than 200 people are expected to make the flight. Meals will be included following these rides.
The 2013 festival is also pairing with McDonald’s for a special promotion. A coloring contest will be held at every Jerry Lewis McDonald’s location within 10 counties. A free order of fries will be rewarded to those who enter the contest and winners will receive free tethered balloon rides.
This festival goes beyond balloon rides and is expected to include a variety of other events, many of which are free of cost. Children can enjoy trackless train rides, a petting zoo, amusement rides, pony rides and miniature golf. Other events include a corn hole tournament, flea market and craft sales, helicopter rides, dance recitals and musical entertainment.
The Brew Ha-Ha beer garden will offer adult refreshments but will also be family-oriented. This are will also offer big screen TVs to keep up-to-date on daily athletics. Many food vendors will also be present.