August 3, 2019

The landowner awards committee of the 30th annual Centralia Balloon Fest has announced that a total of $500 in Schnucks Gift Cards will be awarded landowners this year. Balloon Fest will be held Friday through Sunday, August 16-17-18 in Foundation Park, located on the east edge of Centralia off State Route 161.
Balloon Fest will award $100 Schnucks Gift Cards to five lucky landowners whose names are drawn at the conclusion of the Balloon Fest. Only landowners whose property is used for random landings by balloonists participating in Balloon Fest will be eligible. The awards are sponsored by Schnucks.
The main purpose of the landowners committee is to cultivate good will among landowners, balloonists, and the community so everyone can enjoy this spectacular family event. Landowner participation is essential to the success of the Balloon Fest.
A white sheet on property is a universal welcome signal for balloonists to land on that property. Also, any open, uncultivated land away from livestock and other animals is considered acceptable for landing, unless pilots are notified to avoid by the landowner or renter.
A Balloon Fest landowner committee spokesman said, “We appreciate the many calls from landowners requesting balloons to land on their property. We would like to oblige, although we cannot promise since balloon pilots have little control over the direction of their flight. There is not a set course. Balloon flight paths are controlled by the wind direction, and seldom exceed a ten-mile radius of lift- off at Centralia. Balloons usually fly when the air temperature is coolest (during early morning or late afternoon) at altitudes of 500 to 1000 feet.”
AREAS TO AVOID: The Greater Centralia Chamber of Commerce office also needs to hear from landowners or renters who do not want balloons to land on their property. Those individuals should call the Centralia Chamber of Commerce office at 532-6789 prior to August 10TH with property descriptions including county, township, range, section, etc. Area maps will be developed outlining areas for balloon pilots to avoid as landing sights.
Balloon pilots come from many states and are friendly people who enjoy entertaining the public. They would not knowingly harm anyone or property. Should the unexpected occur, however, balloonists are insured.
Spectators are urged to respect the rights of landowners when following balloons both flying and landing, and to avoid traffic congestion that might damage property or delay crews from assisting downed balloons.
The spokesperson said, “We appreciate the enthusiasm area rural landowners have shown in the past and want to thank them again for their support. Continued support can make Balloon Fest safe, problem free, fun filled, and entertaining for the entire family.”