Organizers of the Balloons Over Vermilion celebration announced late Tuesday night that the 2020 celebration has been cancelled due to concerns related to COVID-19, also known as the Coronavirus.
The organizers sent out the following letter announcing cancellation to media outlets:
We certainly live in uncertain times…..truer words were never spoken.
The Covid-19 virus has changed our lives, our outlooks and our concerns for friends, families and businesses. We all strive to live under “shelter in place” orders, march off to work in “necessary” but still frightful situations, and attempt to maintain a calm and positive outlook on the future. Still, difficult decisions must be made with the best interests of all in mind.
It is with heavy hearts, but mindful of the serious situation we all face, that we announce the cancellation of Balloons Over Vermilion 2020. In making this difficult decision, our Board of Directors has considered many factors, among them the following:
1) Since its inception, Balloons Over Vermilion has been a professionally organized, community-based family event. It has been made possible by the dozens of generous sponsors who support the event every year. Today, many of those sponsors are concerned with keeping their businesses open in a very trying time. Whether open or closed, they are attempting to protect and pay their employees while continually wondering what the future holds for them, their employees and their livelihoods. Asking sponsors to support a community event at a time in which they find themselves struggling to support such significant human factors would certainly not be in the best interests of our community as a whole.
2) The question of “when will this all be over” is yet to be answered. Unfortunately, there are varying degrees of estimates and answers to this question from very educated and informed professionals, none of who are indicating it will end soon.
3) Planning for Balloons Over Vermilion takes the time and effort of many devoted volunteers. Contracts are signed, equipment is ordered, and commitments are made well in advance of the opening of the gates. Unfortunately, the date of July 10, 2020 continues to approach. We are not able to, nor are we willing to, ask sponsors to make financial commitments under the current circumstances. Contracts for services cannot be signed in good faith, volunteers cannot be solicited, and balloonists cannot be tied to an event that may not happen. If we knew the “all clear” date, we could estimate if it would allow enough time to complete all the tasks necessary to provide the quality event that the community has embraced. But no one knows the “all clear” date and it pushes closer to our event date with each passing day.
4) Vermilion County has yet to experience its first case of the Covid-19 virus. We are fortunate in this regard, but also mindful that a mass gathering like Balloons Over Vermilion attracts visitors, participants and vendors from across the nation. Protecting the health and welfare of all our residents and guests is a commitment we do not take lightly, and one which weighed heavily in our decision.
For these reasons, and as an abundance of caution, Balloons Over Vermilion 2020 has been cancelled. Due to the schedule of national ballooning events, it is not possible to postpone the event to a later date this year. There simply are not any later dates available which meet the local calendar and weather scenarios.
The Board of Directors and the entire Steering Committee of Balloon Over Vermilion remain fully committed to the future success of this event and we look forward to seeing everyone enjoying the sites, the flights, the smiles and the excitement of Balloons Over Vermilion 2021 to begin July 9, 2021.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact any of us listed below. With deepest community pride,
Balloons Over Vermilion
Balloons Over Vermilion
Pat O’Shaughnessy 217 260-6716 Administration and sponsors
Jim Anderson 217 304-3032 Administration and sponsors
Doug Ahrens 217 918-7816 Grounds and transportation
Dean Carlton 217 304-2365 Balloons
Larry Owen 217 304-0827 Balloons
Joe Vincent 217 304-7956 Balloonmeister
Jaclyn Vinson 217 260-2213 Kid’s Zone
Shelly Larson 217 474-4211 Vendors
Cassie Kiester 217 474-7770 Media and communications