|Hot Air Festival deemed not successful enough|
|Monday, September 30, 2013 12:09 AM|
BY ED GEBERT
Times Bulletin Editor
VAN WERT — The Hot Air Festival will not be back in 2014 for a third attempt to revive the old Hot Air Affair. The news officially was announced in a release from Event Organizer Jerry Mazur and Chairperson Ann Marshall on Thursday, although the final word had been expected since the end of this year’s event earlier this month.
Marshall is quoted in the release as saying, “The two-year effort at attempting to revive the once very successful Hot Air Affair has ended with moderate success and can now be logged into Van Wert’s history of past events.”
Even though Mazur believes the final accounting will put the event in the black financially for the year, the 2013 edition of the Festival did not accomplish what he and the event committee wanted to accomplish.
“Being somewhat pleased with the small profit this year [we are] sad to report the results did not meet the objectives of their business plan,” Mazur wrote in the release. “The plan was to have enough profits available each year in order to provide seed money for the ensuing year’s event. The business plan was designed to have The Hot Air Festival become self sufficient and less dependent on local business and private contributions for financial support.”
The release went on to thank the businesses and individuals who supported the festival through monetary support or by trading service and to the department chairpersons who put together the large group of more than 100 volunteer staff who worked the three-day event.
Mazur called attention to the expenses involved in putting on the festival, which was brought back to life in 2012. The 18 balloons this year cost around $21,000, including hotels and meals. Another $20,000 went toward advertising, tents, electrical service and outhouses. Free entertainment added $13,000, fireworks cost $6,500, then add in the petting zoo, train rides, cleanup and other expenses and the total passed $63,000 in the three days.
On the other side of the coin, more than $40,000 was distributed to local businesses, youth groups, community service and religious organizations. Mazur also noted that the slim profit margin was being split with half going to the fair board and the airport authority as event hosts and the rest shared between several groups, including Civil Air Patrol, Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, Buckeye Y and the Challenged Higher Peer Group, who each helped out during the festival. The Van Wert County Foundation retains a small amount to be used for possible events related to aviation.
The release went on to mention the financial benefits to the community of events like the Festival, such as the business received by area stores and retailers. “Van Wert needs events and venues like the County Fair, Apple Festival, the Rib Fest, Peony Festival, (Holiday at Home) parade and fireworks, Wassenberg Art Center, The PAC and more. All events should be equally supported by the county and city governments,” Mazur added. “The more there is to draw people to town, the more vibrant the economy becomes. When business people see people in a town, they see money being spent and want to get a piece of the action. What better way is there to attract new businesses to a town than bringing in the masses?”