By Nicole Matheson

For those who have been around Lake Havasu City for a while, or even a newcomer, chances are there is anticipation for the Havasu Balloon Festival.

This grand scenic event, which brings hundreds from across the country, is once again just around the corner. It begins Jan. 9, at noon and runs through Jan. 12, at 3 p.m. RiverScene talked with Havasu Balloon Festival representatives, Gary Moore – a balloon pilot and event coordinator, and Steve Ticknor – the executive director. Both have been overseeing the festival since it’s inception and are proud to talk about the 10-year milestone of the event.

Rich Miers and Jim Day launch tissue paper balloons at the Havasu Balloon Festival. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

Helping the Community

What began as a small nonprofit event organized by the local Lions and Rotary clubs has matured into one of the largest fundraising events for the community of Lake Havasu City. Along with celebrating its 10th year, the festival will also have raised $1 million for the community. Just this year, $150,000 went out to the community. It is important to note that all proceeds and profits stay right in Havasu.

The 10th anniversary will honor the memory of Marquita McKnight, who was a founding member of the Balloon Festival.

Bigger Than Ever

The event is at Windsor 4, a perfect location for the spacious requirements needed for the festival. In 2020, the event organizers expect 72 balloons with some special shapes that will debut. Eleven exciting shapes are expected to make an appearance in 2020. “We’ve got a brand-new balloon, a unicorn that’s coming,” says Moore, who isn’t just a coordinator but is also the Balloon Meister.

Kermie and Allycorn are two special shape balloons that will be at the 2020 Balloon Fest. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday mornings, Special Shape balloons will be inflated on the grass field at Windsor 4. If you would like to see the Special Shapes or round balloons up close, you may see them at the balloon festival launch field each morning around 7:45 a.m.

Balloons may be the main attraction but this festival is filled with other offerings as well. For $15, patrons can attend all four days and come and go as they please. Children have the opportunity to have a grand time at the fun zone/carnival and there will be a selection of more than 20 food vendors throughout the day. Nonstop entertainment is planned to continue throughout each day with headliners set for the evenings. Entertainment includes local bands, comedians and magicians.

Bands are some of the entertainment at the Havasu Balloon Festival. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

Tethered balloon rides will be offered for $20, or actual balloon rides will be available for $200. Tickets cannot be purchased ahead of time but will be available at the event.

Morning mass ascensions begin a little after 7:30 a.m. each morning. Afternoon ascensions occur around 4pm. Every evening at 6:30 p.m., the crowd-favorite “night glow” is set. All ascensions and glows are weather permitting for safety reasons.  Wind speeds and wind direction will determine if balloons fly each scheduled launch.

The Friday night glow at the 2019 Havasu Balloon Festival. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

A Helping Hand

An event this large requires a great amount of helping hands. Thus far, there are 650 volunteer slots yet to fill. Volunteer opportunities include everything from admissions, clean-up, to information booths. In addition, volunteers are needed to assist balloon crews. All volunteers get a free T-shirt with the opportunity to help not just an event, but also the community. Those interested in volunteering should visit havasuballoonfest.com to apply.

 

Doug Browning and Cindy Dionne volunteer at the 2019 Havasu Balloon Festival. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

Transportation

In order to accommodate the expected crowds with parking, buses will be available to shuttle people from Lake Havasu High School, Mohave Community College and the Aquatic Center, that will run approximately every 20-30 minutes. This is the recommended method of transportation, however, parking at the site will also be available.

Special Shape Balloons At The 2020 Havasu Balloon Festival:

Wilson Creek is one of the special shape balloons at the 2020 Havasu Balloon Festival.

Bila is one of the special shape balloons that will be at 2020 the Havasu Balloon Festival. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

Busby will be at the 2020 Havasu Balloon Festival.

Duma is one of the special shape balloons at the 2020 Havasu Balloon Festival.

Joelly is one of the special shape balloons at the 2020 Havasu Balloon Festival.

Speedy Bird is one of the special shape balloons at the 2020 Havasu Balloon Festival.

Kermie and Allycorn are two special shape balloons that will be at the 2020 Balloon Fest.

Koshare is one of the special shape balloons at the 2020 Havasu Balloon Festival.

Shroom with a View is one of the special shape balloons at the 2020 Havasu Balloon Festival.

Whooz Up is one of the special shape balloons at the 2020 Havasu Balloon Festival.

 

Volunteers pose for a photo at the Havasu Balloon Fest. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

 

Havasu Balloon Festival

Balloons fly over the London Bridge during the Havasu Balloon Festival. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

 

balloonfest

Balloons fly over Lake Havasu during the Balloonfest. Jillian Danielson/RiverScene

 

Volunteers at the Havasu Balloon Festival. Jillian Danielson/RiveScene

 


2 Responses to “Premier Event – 10th Annual Havasu Balloon Festival – Is On The Horizon”

  1. Avatar Brian marble says:

    Will there be sky diving?

  2. Avatar David says:

    Didn’t see Arts & Crafts mentioned. Will they be participating this year?

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