Robin Scholz/The News-Gazette

(Left) Balloons inflate and take off at Balloons Over Vermilion at the Vermilion County Airport in Danville on Friday, July 9, 2021.

Organizers of Balloons Over Vermilion would like to thank the tens of thousands of guests who once again brought smiles, excitement and inspiration to the event after a year’s absence.

“Even with the fickle weather faced on Saturday, we still hosted over 21,000 guests during our two-day event, and experienced record crowds on Friday,” stated Pat O’Shaughnessy, Co-Chair of the event. Grateful for the huge success of Friday’s response to BOV 2021 the event organizers offered free admission to Saturday’s event and activities. “Given what we saw on Friday, we felt that free admission and parking on Saturday was a great way to say thanks, and also encourage everyone to come out and enjoy all of the other attractions at the airport,” he added.

While Saturday’s weather may have preempted the balloon flight and glow, over 5000 visitors to Balloons Over Vermilion didn’t let that dampen their spirits. Balloon School hosted by local pilots gave a taste of the sport of ballooning with hands-on safety, pilot training, weather education and competition at demonstration stations. The carnival, food vendors, Kids Zone, Joyful Bubbles, Touch A Truck, the Amazing Giants stilt walkers, inflatables and live music in the beer tent satisfied pent-up demand for people to get out and experience local events and festivals again.

“Our sincere thanks once again go out to our Title Sponsor, the Julius W. Hegeler II Foundation, for the continued support which it has shared since the beginning of Balloons Over Vermilion. Julius was with us in spirit this year, and certainly will be each year we are privileged to present this gift to Vermilion County,” said Jim Anderson, Co-Chair of the event. “Our Board of Directors is very pleased with this year’s results, as it will provide us with funds to help local programs and initiatives aimed at improving the lives of our most precious resource; our young people,” he added.

Over 400 volunteers and dozens of sponsors were also critical to the successful return of this outstanding 2021 marquee outdoor festival. Friday evening set a record crowd with just under 16,000 kids of all ages enjoying everything Balloons Over Vermilion has to offer.

Near perfect weather conditions Friday evening allowed for a spectacular balloon flight of 30 colorful hot air balloons. In addition to the inspiring launch, the near perfect wind conditions suspended the graceful giants midair over the airport grounds and nearby for an extended viewing as the balloons decorated the skies.

A spectacular balloon glow followed with the unique, interactive experience of Balloonmeister Joe Vincent dropping the ropes and allowing the crowd up-close access to the balloons and pilots.

“Our pilots share with us that this is one of the most knowledgeable and respectful crowds they see at any comparable event. They look forward to Balloons Over Vermilion all year long, and they’re pleased to bring the magic of hot air ballooning closer to our type of crowd,” he stated.

Mark your calendars now for Balloons Over Vermilion 2022 July 8-9 at the Vermilion Regional Airport.

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