Monday, Aug. 29


It's all over for one more year     Send a link to a friend

Another successful Lincoln Art & Balloon Festival

[AUG. 29, 2005]  Most evidences, signs, tents, porta-potties -- everything needed to host thousands of visitors to our community -- have disappeared. Hardly a trace remains of one of Lincoln's two largest annual events. The Lincoln Art & Balloon Festival follows close on the heels of the Logan County Fair. Both are in the month of August.

Today, all that remains are many great memories of what some are terming the best art and balloon festival in Lincoln's history.

Numerous entities host the weekend activities, but the Lincoln/Logan County Chamber of Commerce serves as the primary sponsor and coordinator.

“Lincoln Art & Balloon Festival organizers are in high spirits after a very successful festival weekend,” said Bobbi Abbott, executive director of the chamber of commerce. “The crowds were great. The weather was great. Most of the vendors, sponsors, volunteers and participants had nothing but compliments.”

She added: “We know we have some 'tweaking' ahead of us, especially with the traffic flow. It wasn't perfect, but it was a very good start and we'll be building on experience now rather than just speculating. We could not have asked for a better first year at the airport.”

The festival has grown over the years from the simple artists show started by the Lincoln Woman's Club in Latham Park to four days of events that include hot-air balloons, tasting Illinois wines, an 1800s craft fair with historical presentations, arts and crafts, antiques and collectibles, kids' activities, live entertainment in numerous locations, car races, food, and more. The four days of activities are spread out over the entire town.

Gloom and rain dampened attendance at the pre-event hosted by Maple Ridge Care Centre on Thursday and continued to threaten activities scheduled on Friday. Preliminary flights on Thursday evening and Friday morning were scrubbed.

Crowds were light as the skies opened at the last minute, permitting the first balloon launch at the airport on Friday evening. But on Saturday the weather was clear and the crowds at the airport picked up significantly all day long. By evening it appeared to have attained the standard large crowd status of previous record years.

The only problem noted over the weekend was getting cars into the airport grounds. Lincoln experienced its first-ever major traffic jam on Saturday evening around 5:30. Event organizers will be working on eliminating that issue for next year.

However, even those delayed from seeing the launch could still see the balloons. Like on Friday night, when there was little wind, the balloons hung close and moved slowly, landing in full view to the east. The mass view was picturesque.

[to top of second column in this article]

Those who missed the flights did get to see a great balloon glow in the stillness of the evening as the Lincoln skies darkened and temperatures cooled.

On Sunday morning it was a chilly 55 degrees, but spectacular clear, calm weather permitted another, final balloon flight.

All hot-air balloon launches and glows took place as scheduled and the forecast for rain did not materialize. The three-day event ended on a high note as hot-air balloons took to the sky for an extra flight on Sunday night to provide paid rides to the public, Abbott said.

Downtown crowds were steady and made for pleasant viewing, participation and visiting all weekend.

Logan County Emergency Management Agency reported that there were no real problems over the weekend. They treated a couple of minor injuries and helped find a misplaced mom on Saturday evening at the airport.

Lincoln/Logan County Chamber of Commerce events coordinator Debra Rohrer summed it up as follows:

“For my first year to be involved with the Lincoln Art & Balloon Festival, I'm in awe! As events coordinator for the Lincoln/Logan County Chamber of Commerce, I am so thankful for wonderful co-chairs and the committee members, generous sponsors, and the endless hours put in by community volunteers. This has been a learning year and one that we will not soon forget. Now... we have a full year ahead of us to sort out all of suggestions and comments.

“I've said for three months now that I'm looking forward to 2006 because all the unknowns will be the known. We ask everyone to be patient with us and please join us again in the coming years.

“For me personally, this has been an awesome experience, and I feel like we, as a committee, flew with the balloons. It has been my pleasure to work a great chamber staff and a great community.

“Thank you, thank you and thank you to everyone.”

[Jan Youngquist]

< Top Stories index

Back to top


News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching & Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries

Community | Perspectives | Law & Courts | Leisure Time | Spiritual Life | Health & Fitness | Teen Scene
Calendar | Letters to the Editor