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2021 Carolina BalloonFest canceled

The 2021 Carolina BalloonFest scheduled for Oct. 15, 16, 17 in Statesville  has been canceled.

Oct. 12. National Balloon Rally Charities Inc. announced  the 2021 Carolina BalloonFest scheduled for Oct. 15, 16, 17 in Statesville  has been canceled.

COVID-19 concerns related to bringing large groups of people together over the three-day event led to the cancellation of this year’s 47th Carolina BalloonFest, but festival organizers say that they plan for the festival to return next year.

Bob Thompson, current chairman of the NBRC Inc. Board of Directors and president of Victory Air LLC, said that  it was the right decision to make at this time.

“We had lengthy conversations about this decision and focused our discussion on community health,” said Thompson. “We have worked in close contact with the City of Statesville, local health officials and other community stakeholders to try and determine a safe way to host 40,000 people over a three-day weekend. But there was no safe solution that didn’t involve risk, so the Carolina BalloonFest Board of Directors ultimately made the decision, in the best interest of our community, to cancel this year’s festival.”

This is the second festival that the nonprofit group has had to cancel since the pandemic. This kind of decision is not made lightly given that NBRC Inc. not only depends on the festival itself as its only source of income; the nonprofit has also made it their mission to donate to over 20 other nonprofits and community agencies in Iredell County on an annual basis. In recent years, the non-profit has donated over $787,000 back to the community. But with the pandemic, obstacles have arisen.  

National Balloon Rally Charities Inc. dab Carolina BalloonFest will be issuing full refunds to its 2021 festival patrons. Anyone who purchased a ticket online through Carolina BalloonFest’s website will be refunded via the festival’s ticket platform Eventbrite. For those who purchased an RV camping spot, you will be mailed a refund check. 

“To cancel this event two years in a row because of the health concerns that it creates during this pandemic is heart-breaking. Therefore, we turn to our community and humbly ask you for your support,”  said Bud Welch, executive director of the Carolina BalloonFest. “Any donation – big or small – would make a tremendous difference for our nonprofit so that we can continue our annual mission to help this community. We rise so others can soar, but right now, we need your aid and support.”

​With the cancellation of their second event due to the pandemic, the non-profit is asking for any donations to be sent to National Balloon Rally Charities Inc. DBA Carolina BalloonFest via a PayPal link or mailed to P.O. BOX 267 Statesville, NC 28677.