2012 Louisiana Hot Air Balloon Championship Festival not cancelled, say organizers

Staff report

The dates for the 2012 Louisiana Hot Air Balloon Championship Festival is being moved, not cancelled, according to the Ascension Festivals and Cultural Council.

“The 2012 Louisiana Hot Air Balloon Championship Festival has not been cancelled, it has merely been postponed to October 5-7,” said Charlotte Guedry. “A prediction of inclement weather into the beginning of August was the decision behind the change.”

The original plan was to hold the festival at Lamar-Dixon on August 3 and 4, but after meeting with officials on weather patterns, organizers felt the event had a better chance for success if moved to a more weather friendly month.

“October has statistically been a lovely month in Ascension Parish,” said Guedry. “Students will be back in school, and we can focus on taking the time to include schools in the festival and getting our area children more involved.”

The Louisiana Ballooning Foundation has pulled out of the championship portion of the event, as has stated that the reason for their departure was due to a lack of sponsorship and fundraising on behalf of the Ascension Parish organizers.

“This is the first the Ascension group has heard of this, as they have a number of sponsors and have paid over $85,000 of agreed upon fees to the Louisiana Ballooning Foundation. In fact, we are currently awaiting reimbursement of money paid to the Louisiana Ballooning Foundation,” said Guedry. “ My understanding is that the Louisiana Ballooning Foundation had yet to garner a sponsor for the championship portion of the event, so that may have been a factor in their decision.”

The 2012 Louisiana Hot Air Balloon Festival is looking forward to a successful weekend in October, and welcomes prospective sponsors and vendors to visit for further information.

“All activities planned will now only be improved upon, as continuing to make this a wonderful and exciting family friendly event remains our top priority,” said Guedry. “ The festival still has the support of Ascension Parish Government and their many sponsors. The Ascension Festivals and Cultural Council will be securing all balloonists for the event, and providing all visitors an event certain to be successful.”