Grimes Field was alive and bustling last weekend as it welcomed visitors to the Balloon Fest. “A Hot Air Affair” illuminated the skies at dusk, creating a kaleidoscope of color and mesmerizing the crowd below.
A different balloon festival had previously been staged annually at Grimes through 2012, and this year’s event varied somewhat from those festivals. Organizers hope to perpetuate the new festival in coming years after restarting it in 2018.
Organizers report the rebirth of the festival was only possible with the crucial support of commercial sponsors.
Platinum sponsors were Dave Kehl Chevrolet, Bundy Baking Solutions, Urbana Daily Citizen, the 106.9 “The Bull” Radio Station and 1st Choice Energy Services; silver sponsor was Bryce Hill and bronze level sponsors were Boldman Printing, Thornton’s Carpet & Interior, Urbana University, Security Bank, Henderson Land Investment Co., Vernon Family Funeral Home, Walter & Lewis Funeral Home and Urbana Place.
“A sincere thank you for making it happen,” Event Chairman Elton Cultice said about the festival’s supporters. “Thanks, also, to Fricker’s Restaurant and Marco’s Pizza for sponsoring our eating contests and for feeding our pilots and crew. Our appreciation goes out to the Grimes Flying Lab, The Champaign Aviation Museum, and the Airport Cafe for extending your hours to accommodate the visitors.
“A special thank you to the Urbana Daily Citizen for their excellent coverage before and after the event and for providing the program book as a supplement to the Citizen subscribers as well as to those attending the event. A sincere thank you to Charlotte Kline, Jason Roby, Chris Selmek, Brenda Burns, Lane Moon, and the entire crew at the Citizen. A thank you, also, to the program booklet advertisers … we appreciate your support.”
Cultice also expressed appreciation to the pilots, Tim Grissom, Trent Bishop, Chris Jessee, Dean Clodfelder, Jim Cusick, Mike Gliatti, Rick Cusick, Dan Steely, and Ron Terranova. “Many thanks for bringing this wonderful display of lights and color to Grimes Field,” Cultice said. “You truly made the event possible!”
Student volunteers were Brianna Eaton and Ashley Boggs from Triad National Honor Society. Mr. Curtner and students, Chris, Sam, Julian, Chris, Matt and Will from the Hi-Point Aviation Satellite program also assisted. Abbie Davis, 2019 US National Miss Buckeye State, Taylor Armstrong, Electria Monroe, Abbey Monroe, Brenna Kauffman and Monica Tussing also assisted. “It is great to have the youth involved in community projects,” Cultice said. “Thanks, also, to volunteers Kirk Koennecke, Lee Ann Steed, and Mayor Bill Bean for your help in making the event a success. To committee members, Audra Bean, Vince Gonzalez, Lois Monroe, Susie Koennecke, Sandy Gonzalez, Tim Grissom, Mary Collier, Kim Wilson and Dottie Landis, job well done! Thanks for making this a fun-filled, memorable weekend!”
The Balloon Fest – “A Hot Air Affair” was the first event sponsored by the Grimes Field Foundation and the festival for 2019 is currently being planned.