At a little after 4 p.m. lines were forming along
the routes to the airport as vehicles waited their turn to get into
the airport parking lots.
Doug Luken was the volunteer coordinator for the Lincoln Logan
County Chamber of Commerce. At 5:15 p.m. he said that his spotters
were telling him there were long lines of vehicles waiting to gain
entry to the airport from every direction, an indication of another
huge turnout for the Saturday night event.
Karen Hargis was one of those waiting to get into the airport on
Saturday evening. She said that traffic never came to a standstill
on North Kickapoo, but slowed considerable after she reached the
intersection at Keokuk Street. What was nice she said, was that
while she wasnít at the airport for the launch, the balloons headed
away from the airport in a southwesterly direction, meaning that
vehicles waiting in line on the west side of the airport were able
to watch the colorful balloons float overhead.
In the airport, people gathered on the west side viewing area,
filled the grass runway where the balloons were launching, and also
lined the east side of the runway in order to view the launches.
Several people there for the first time were surprised when they
were told that they were permitted to go out to be close to the
balloons as they were inflated. For many, especially the kids, that
was a very special treat!
On the west side of the airport a special group of guests gathered.
Two busses from Liberty Village in Clinton had reserved a VIP space.
They set up a tent, brought in their lawn chairs, and a picnic
supper. The group spent the evening enjoying the launch and glow.
On Saturday morning, local pilot Seth Goodman announced on his
Facebook page that he and pilot Scott Wooge would be giving away a
total of four free rides to those who posted on the page that they
would like to take a ride. Goodman reported that more than 400
people responded. The winners were drawn and they were Susie Becker,
Lori Charron-Blees, Jennifer Grimaldi and Tim McDougal.
Grimaldi rode with Wooge in his beautiful balloon
named Eclipse. Becker and Blees rode with Goodman in Done Deal.
McDougall told Goodman that what he really would like to do is
experience the adventure of being in the chase vehicle. It happened
to be Timís birthday, so the Done Deal crew was happy to oblige,
making room in their chase vehicle for Tim to ride along.
[to top of second column]
Once again on Saturday night, as soon as the balloons
had launched, the three special shapes began to inflate, providing
continued interest for the crowds as they awaited the return of all
the other balloons for the evening glow.
This year balloons inflated for the glow in a double line, meaning
that those in the viewing area got to see all the balloons, and with
glows and flickers going on for quite some time, the landscape was
filled with brilliant colors and glowing balloons for all to see.
At the end of the show, announcers encouraged everyone to not rush
off; there were still plenty of things to do at the 2017 Lincoln
Musical entertainment was provided on Saturday evening by Heroso, a
band from Bloomington. The group provided music until the close at
11 p.m. Food vendors were on hand to satisfy any appetite, and the
Kid Zone remained open for youngsters.
While it will be a while before the Chamber is able to crunch all
the numbers and determine just how successful this yearís event was,
it was easy to see that the crowds were there, filling both parking
areas, and overflowing along the roadside. People were counted
coming in from the parking lots by the dozens, and there is no doubt
that there were thousands in attendance again on Saturday evening.
Festival activities continued on Sunday with the art and craft
vendors, and home based business and other vendors in downtown
Tomorrow, following one more day of cleanup, thereís always a mess
after a party and somebodyís got to take care of it, the Chamber
staff will take a deep breath and may enjoy the fact that once again
they have pulled off a very successful balloon festival, done in no
small part thanks to those who sponsored the event financially and
also to the many who volunteered throughout the week and weekend,
giving of their time to help make this an especially wonderful
weekend in Lincoln.