Tuesday, August 21, 2012
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Chamber celebrates 39th annual Lincoln Art & Balloon Festival with ribbon-cuts

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[August 21, 2012]  The phones are ringing off the hook; the office is packed with boxes of T-shirts, souvenirs and supplies. Inflatable balloons and sponsor banners are showing up all over Lincoln. These are all signs the preparations are entering their final stages for the 2012 Lincoln Art & Balloon Festival.

The Lincoln/Logan County Chamber of Commerce is continuing the old favorite traditions and new traditions that have made this event No. 1 in Logan County. This weekend hot air balloons will fill Logan County skies, and fine art and crafts will fill the parks, along with delicious food sales lining Lincoln's downtown streets. Entertainment will be provided by live bands in Scully Park, The Art of Wine tent and at the Logan County Airport.

With each new year, the organizers of the festival want to wow guests with vivid colors, exciting activities, wonderful smells, beautiful art, great music and much more. This year is no different -- back by popular demand is "Up in Smoke on the Square," a Kansas City Barbecue Society-sanctioned cook-off event that will take place in historic downtown Lincoln on Friday and Saturday during the festival. The barbecue contest will bring over 45 competitors from all over the country to the community to compete. Barbecue will also be available for purchase from vendors.

In addition to the culinary experience of the KCBS event, patrons of the festival will enjoy giant kite demonstrations and a bags tournament out at the airport on Saturday.

Free transportation around downtown and around town to the different venues were all first-timers for the 2011 festival and are being brought back for the 2012 event.

The free parking that was new last year was very popular, and many festival-goers took advantage of this great service to beat the $1 parking charge out at the Logan County Airport. The off-site parking will again be at the Burger King parking lot on Woodlawn Road. Shuttle service will run Friday and Saturday afternoon from the Burger King lot to downtown Lincoln and then to the Logan County Airport. The shuttle will run about every 15 minutes to each of the three locations.

In addition to the shuttle service, the chamber is again offering a free trolley service around downtown Lincoln. The trolleys will make regular stops at the corner of Pulaski and Chicago, where the shuttles will drop off and pick up patrons throughout the day on Saturday. The trolleys will run on Saturday and Sunday during high-traffic times downtown, picking up guests all along the downtown route.

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On Thursday at 5:30 p.m. the Lincoln/Logan County Chamber of Commerce is hosting a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the main festival gate, off Airport Road at the Logan County Airport, to honor the 39th anniversary of the Lincoln Art & Balloon Festival. In addition to the ribbon-cut, local balloon pilots will fly to give a preview of what to expect at the weekend festival.

Immediately following the ribbon-cut, the community is invited to the 14th annual kickoff party at Maple Ridge Care Centre, where they serve a fabulous dinner and entertain with live music until 8:30 p.m.

This event leads into the weekend of exciting, fun-filled activities at the Logan County Airport, which includes 33 beautiful hot air balloons launching several times throughout the weekend and glowing both Friday and Saturday evening. The festival will feature new live entertainment including Still Kick'n on Friday night, Big Daddy Jasper and Kung Fu Dynamite on Saturday night; tethered balloon rides; and family games and activities.

The festival parade from downtown to the airport will start the weekend on Friday at 3:30 p.m.

On Saturday at 9 a.m., the chamber is hosting another ribbon-cut for the Fine Art Fair and all other downtown portions of the weekend festivities. This event will take place on the corner of Pekin and Kickapoo streets.

The annual Fine Art Fair has grown into an entire downtown festival, including The Art of Wine, which is an Illinois wine-tasting event, along with a craft fair, flea market and the KCBS-sanctioned competition. The downtown portion of the festival will also feature games and activities for families.

Sunday there will be an antique car show around the square and the 1800s Craft Fair at Postville Courthouse.

Check out all the Lincoln Art & Balloon Festival activities on a complete, detailed schedule at www.lincolnillinois.com.

[Text from file received from the Lincoln/Logan County Chamber of Commerce]

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