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Local Groups to Benefit from "Ohio Challenge" Balloon Event
Tuesday, December 31, 2002 12:00:00 AM - Monroe Ohio
Vendors, artists, craftspeople, service organizations and volunteers are being sought for the Ohio Challenge hot air balloon event being planned in Middletown, Ohio for August 1,2,3, 2003.

The first-year event is not the first time major hot air ballooning has been hosted in Middletown. During 1992, 93 and 94, the U.S. National Hot Air Balloon Championships were held at the same Smith Park location in downtown Middletown. The Mid-Miami Valley Chamber of Commerce is responding to the community interest in the sport by hosting this “Ohio championship” hot air balloon event.

Emily Harris, Chamber Balloon Event Director, said, “ When the 30 to 50 balloons arrive in Middletown for the three-day competition, many support services will be needed for a large number of visitors who come to see the balloons and enjoy the festival events. We hope many non-profit organizations and arts and crafts vendors will benefit from this community event. ”

Up to 20 non-profit organizations are invited to serve as food vendors at the Smith Park site which is equipped with electricity and water service. A 10 foot booth space will cost the organization $200 for the three days. Vendors may supply their own tent or rent a suitable tent through a Chamber supply source. Chair of the food booth operation is Beth Knueppel, an engineer at AK Steel.

Artists and Crafters are invited to sell their items in a special juried arts and crafts area. The 10 foot spaces will rent for $110 for the three days. Those submitting applications will be asked to send a photo of the items they expect to sell in their booth. Rita Blevins, manager of Check Smart, will chair the arts and crafts show.

Local non-profit organizations will be “hired” to serve as parking lot attendants and possibly other on-site service providers.

Dan Sack, owner of the Fourth R, is chairing the sponsorship committee. Businesses and organizations may sponsor an individual balloon or specific portion of the event, such as on-site performers, balloon pilot receptions or specific services. An individual balloon sponsorship is $500.

As many area people will remember, hot air balloonists often require volunteer crew members. Competitive balloon events are judged by trained volunteer “observers.” Some past volunteers may want to come “out of retirement” and sign up now to be on the crew or observer list of volunteers.

For application forms, additional information and deadline dates or to sign up for any of the volunteer opportunities, please call the Chamber office at 422-4551 or email Emily Harris
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