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Tuesday, February 7, 2006 5:15:48 PM - Monroe Ohio

February 7, 2006




Rodney Hale, Trenton Chief of Police, has been appointed the volunteer chairman for the 2006 Ohio Challenge Hot Air Balloon Festival set for July 21-22-23,  at Smith Park in downtown Middletown. Chief Hale has served the event since its beginning in 2003, most recently as vice-chair of the 2004 event. The Hale family has long been supportive of area events, including the original U.S. National Hot Air Balloon Championships held 1992-1994. The two Hale brothers, their wives, children and mother, have all worked together to provide the on-site communications and coordination services for not only the balloon events, but other events as far back as the 1991 Middletown Bicentennial.


Peggy Ketron has come aboard as Event Manager, replacing Kathy Venturella who resigned to take a position with Republic Airways. Mrs. Ketron, a Monroe High School graduate, has lived in Middletown throughout her adult life, but spent her professional career out of town serving 31 years as a registered nurse, then nurse manager at Kettering Medical Center Network’s Sycamore Hospital near the Dayton Mall.  Now retired, she brings her management skills to this large community event.


Other Members of the committee are:

Treasurer/2003 Chair                 Dave Pearce, Bank One NA .

Pilot Coordinator/2005 Chair      Ginger Bruggeman, United Way

Pilot/Competition Event              Dr. Mark Frazer, Summit Family Physicians                                                       

Pilot/Competition Event              James Wannemacher, Triple J Investments

Sponsorships                             Jennifer Becker, SS & G Financial Group

Food Vendors                           Paula Hale, The Cumberland Group

Arts & Crafts Vendors              Lisa Pearce, Cincinnati Financial

Balloon Discovery Center          Sharon Brown, Middletown City Schools

City of Middletown                    Ginger Smith, Mark Hoffman & Jim Cunningham

Site Communications                 Doug Hale, Butler County Deputy Sheriff

Entertainment                            Karen Blakley, Re/Max

Sky Diver Event                        David Hart, Team Fastrax

Sky Diver Coordinator               Maria Langendorf, City of Middletown

Hospitality Tent/Receptions        Carole Schul, Community Volunteer      

Landowner Relations                 Walter Leap, Leap Realtors

Parking                                     Jim Griffith, Middletown Police Department 

Pilot Gifts                                  Fran Sack, Lifespan; Kristy Irving-Barton. Reagent Chemical & Research Inc.  &

                                                Amanda Price – Brown’s Run Country Club

Beer Sales                                Jon Stickelman, CH2MHILL Engineering Services

Publicity                                   Ann Mort, Administrative Business Services/ Middletown CVB


5K Race                                  Sara Newlin/ Middletown High School Athletic Boosters

Geocaching                              Sharon Stone/Clark, Schaefer, Hackett

Site Finance                              Dick Mort, Community Volunteer


Ohio Challenge not only presents a top quality hot air ballooning event, combined with several unusual entertainment options for the entire family, it has built a reputation for assisting non-profit organizations within the community. The object of the event is to provide low cost entertainment, showcasing the Middletown community.


Ohio Challenge has become quite popular with sponsors who see it as an attractive way to present their company name. For sponsorship and general information, call 513-422-3030 or email to


Applications for potential arts and crafts or food vendors may be downloaded from the website. Those wishing to participate are encouraged to submit applications as soon as possible since the available vendor spots are quickly filled.


Information about Ohio Challenge and planned activities throughout the weekend will be posted to the website as they become available.


Ann Mort
InTown Magazine - 513-649-4506
Middletown Convention and Visitors Bureau - 513-422-3030
CVB Toll Free 888-664-3353
Fax 513-422-3030
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