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Balloon Fest to return in 2020, be held every 2 years

Events committee wants to add additional sponsors for biennial event

Balloons appear on the side of a chase vehicle as the burner of a balloon is fired up during the 2018 Harvard Balloon Fest at Milky Way Park.
Balloons appear on the side of a chase vehicle as the burner of a balloon is fired up during the 2018 Harvard Balloon Fest at Milky Way Park.

The next Harvard Balloon Fest will not be until 2020 after the city’s events committee decided to make the annual event biennial, according to a news release from Mayor Michael Kelly.

Harvard’s events committee – a group of nine citizens appointed by the mayor and confirmed by the Harvard City Council – seeks to plan and execute various recreational events for the betterment of the community. One such event has been Balloon Fest, which not only features a number of balloon launches, but also live music, crafts, inflatables, games and activities, carnival rides, helicopter rides, zip-lining and movies in the park.

With the additional time, the events committee hopes to enlist additional sponsorship to offset expenses, plan a more organized event, allow for greater continuity when committee members change and free up other resources to bring more events into the city, according to the release.

The festival has experienced some hardships since starting in 2016.

During Harvard’s second annual Balloon Fest in 2017, rain and windy conditions forced organizers to cancel a nighttime hot-air balloon launch, which was expected to draw tens of thousands of people. Tethered hot-air balloon rides over that weekend also were canceled because of the weather.

To become involved in the Harvard events committee, email the committee’s secretary, Lori Moller, at moller@cityofharvard.org or call 815-943-6468, option 2, ext. 105.

The committee meets at 5:30 p.m. every third Tuesday of the month, unless otherwise posted, at Harvard City Hall, 201 W. Diggins St.

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