By Janet Cruz
Approximately more than 20,000 visitors passed through the gates of the 12th annual Lake Havasu Balloon Festival and Fair sponsored by Anderson Toyota, January 19th through the 23. Although some balloons did not take flight each day because of weather conditions, according to the event chair, this year saw it’s largest attendance.
“We are still working on the exact totals, but so far it looks like it’s one of the best years we have had,” said Steve Ticknor, Havasu Balloon Festival Chairman. “We are looking forward to a total accounting to donate it back into the community.”
More than 1,200 volunteers worked to put this event together for locals and visitors from around the country. Carnival rides, plenty of food vendors, live bands, K9 dog demonstrations, dancers and shows from many other organizations, vendor booths along with a kid zone were on hand. Students from Lake Havasu High School sold glow sticks for the nightly glow parties held when weather conditions permitted. Each morning, the Marine Corps League performed a special opening ceremony with the POW MIA balloon.
The Lions, Kiwanis and Rotary Clubs all take part in volunteering for the Havasu Balloon Festival.
Balloon Fest Committee Chairman Vickie Meeh said 87 vendors participated this year.
Thursday morning the event kicked off with balloon pilots and their crew visiting all of the schools in Lake Havasu.
A special day for kids and adults with different abilities from Mile Markers, RISE and students from Lake Havasu Unified School District, were invited to attend the balloon festival carnival Jan. 20.
Saturday morning, early risers took part in a 5k and 10k run/walk at Lake Havasu State Park, Windsor 4. All participants received one-day admission to the Balloon Festival.
More than 75 hot air balloons participated this year including the special shapes. These shapes included a pink elephant known as “Princess Nelly,” “Elvis,” a pink unicorn dubbed “Alley Corn,” “Duma the Cheetah,” “Buster The Dog,” “UFO,” an apple-shaped balloon named “Cosmic Crisp,” “Albert The Gnome,” “Armadillo,” “Cowboy Billy The Kid,” were just a few.
“The community really came out in droves this year,” said Ticknor. “I want to personally thank all our hardworking volunteers and to all those in Lake Havasu who showed up to support this great event.”
The Havasu Balloon Festival concluded on Sunday, with a gymnastics show by Flips for Fun, a kite exhibition and live music by Matt Ferris on the main stage.
This years event partners included; Anderson Toyota , Air Control Home Services, Foothills Bank, Arizona Financial Credit Union,Accurate Measures, LLC, Havasu Regional Medical Center, Nautical Watersports Center, Pioneer Title Agency, Pirates Den RV Resort & Marina, LLC, UniSource Energy Services, #1 Arizona Electric, A & E Services LHC PLLC, ABCO Builders, Inc, Arizona Desert Dermatology, Coldwell Banker Realty, Dr Michael & Kelli Ward,First Savings Bank,Havasu Riviera Marina,Jerry & Ann Ernst, Lake Havasu Family Eyecare,London Bridge Resort,Re/Max By the Lake, Riviera Lake Havasu, The Boat Brokers, Inc, The Chair,Whiz Kid Computers,Northwestern Mutual – Shane Delaney,7 Rock LLC & 9540, LLC, Allstate:Hollowell Insurance Agency Inc, Anthony Oskolkoff Agency,Arizona Coast Ear, Nose & Throat, Ltd, College Street Brewhouse, Craig Plumbing, Durham Construction Inc, Havasu Memorial Walkway, Law Office of Kenneth E Moyer,Michael Alan Furnishings, NSC CPA, LLC, Selberg Associates, Inc, Storage Pros-Downtown Storage & Dockside Storage,Sunpower by Esmay Electric,The Janecek & Gedalje Group,Havasu Embroidery & Screen Print, Home 2 Suites By Hilton Lake Havasu,Sam’s Beachcomber & RV Resort,Campbell Redi-Mix,Jersey Mike’s Subs, Sunshine RV.
The next Havasu Balloon Festival will be held January 18-21, 2024 so mark your calendars!