“I think we’re on the verge of having record crowds,” said Linda Pierson, president of Balloon A-Fair. “I think it’s going to be a memorable year.”
She said the popular car show returns to Sunbeau Valley Farm on Sunday and the Jeep Show returns to Sunbeau on Saturday. This event, she said, will include a “car crash,” which she says is always a popular event.
The festival begins on Thursday with the annual children’s parade. Registration begins at 5:30 p.m. at the county parking lot at the corner of Prospect and Spruce Street and drops off at 6:30 p.m. Mini Marshal Arlyn Morris, a student at West Main Elementary School, will lead the parade and also participate in Saturday’s Grand Parade. The theme is “Be Brave and Take Flight”. Attendees, many in costume, will take to the lawn of the Portage County Courthouse for a magic show by Magic by Kel and children’s characters from Character Express.
Friday night activities will be held at Sunbeau Valley Farm, 3229 State Route 59, Ravenna Township. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and activities continue until 10 p.m. Events include the addition of a new light balloon. The event will also feature music with DJ Brian Wolf of Wolf Rock Radio, inflatables, NEO Bubble Soccer, children’s characters, craft stalls, and food and beer vendors. The group Aftermath will perform music from the 60s.
A launch breakfast to thank sponsors is also scheduled for 7 a.m. Friday at the Fraternal Order of Eagles, 812 Cleveland Road, Ravenna.
The downtown festival begins at 9 a.m. on Saturday with the Grand Parade, which lines up from 7 a.m. Grand Marshal Brad Crislip will lead the parade, with the theme “Carried Up & Away with Community Spirit”. The downtown festival will continue until 5:30 p.m. with entertainment on three stages, craft and food vendors, and activities for children.
Sunbeau’s doors open at 3 p.m. Saturday. Events include Helicopter Rides, Inflatables, NEO Bubble Soccer, Craft Booths, Pipiolo the Balloon Bender, Jeep Show with Car Crush, Face Painting, Balloon Glow with Claw ‘d the Crazy Crab Balloon, children’s characters, music and crafts, food and beer vendors.
Balloons take off at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, weather permitting.
On Sundays, Sunbeau’s doors open at 11 a.m. Events include helicopter rides, inflatables, face painting, a car show, children’s characters, Claw’d the Crazy Crab Balloon, music and crafts, food and drink vendors. beer. A final hot air balloon take-off is scheduled for 5:30 p.m., weather permitting.
Daily admission to Sunbeau is $5 per person. Children 12 and under are admitted free with a paying adult. There are separate fees for helicopter rides and inflatables. Admission at the door is non-refundable.
Pierson said his thoughts often turn to his parents, Jack and Jeanie Ferguson. Jack Fergusonformer city councilor and Balloon A-Fair executive, died in 2020 and his wife died about a year later.
“I prayed to mom and dad to give us good weather this year,” she said.
Journalist Diane Smith can be reached at 330-298-1139 or email@example.com.