Winds prevented race but couldn’t prevent from having a good time

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Updated: Parade video added

New Haven, Mo. – An estimated one thousand people turnout for the 23rd Annual New Haven Hot Air Balloon race.  Saturday’s weather was perfect for people to relax and enjoy an exciting day filled with many activities for both adults and children alike. There was plenty of great food on hand as well.

Despite the beautiful blue sky and warm sun, “Mother Nature” added gusty winds, which was the ultimate variable that decided whether or not balloons would be able to safely race.

Unfortunately, high wind gusts forced the cancellation of the race and kept most of the 22 balloons on the ground. Four balloons were able to fly to the delight of onlookers.

Spectators may not realize the rarity of such an event to take place in a small town.  There are only a few other communities across the state similar in size to New Haven that has such a unique event.

Hot Air Balloon Races are more common in large cities, such as St. Louis, where the famous Forest Park Balloon Race is held.  In fact, the majority of pilots who travel to the New Haven race participate the week before at Forest Park.

The Hot Air Balloon Festival also gives local organizations a chance to sell concessions and raise money that goes back into the community.

Pictured are members of the New Haven Preservation Society.

Organizations such as the Town and Country Women’s Club, New Haven Preservation Society, New Haven Chamber of Commerce and New Haven High School Clubs such as Future Business Leaders of America and the New Haven High School Cheerleaders all rely on the race to help fund community projects.

The Balloon Festival is more than a Hot Air Balloon Race. It is about giving the community a free event for families and friends to gather and spend an afternoon together in the park.

Local business and community support is why this event has lasted for 23 years. From setting up the park to picking up the cost of bringing balloonists into town; sponsors, volunteers, and the City make it happen. Without support from the New Haven Community in general, there would not be such a unique event each year.

While speaking with Pat Fouge, pilot of the Pepsi Can balloon, he said, “I hope people in this area realize how lucky and fortune they are to have a Balloon Race. In all the races and places we have landed, so many of those people have never seen a hot air balloon, yet alone a race.” Pat has been flying balloons for over 40 years and enjoys participating in the New Haven race.

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