STATESVILLE, NC — National Balloon Rally Charities, Inc. announced today that the 2021 Carolina BalloonFest scheduled for October 15, 16, 17 has been canceled. Ultimately, COVID-19 concerns related to bringing large groups of people together over the three-day event led to the cancellation of this year’s 47thCarolina BalloonFest, but festival organizers say that they plan for the festival to return next year.

Bob Thompson, current Chair of the NBRC, Inc. Board of Directors and President of Victory Air LLC, said that ultimately 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.”

The decision to cancel the Carolina BalloonFest considers rising COVID-19 cases within Iredell County and throughout the country, along with a concern for the safety and wellbeing of our patrons, volunteers, pilots and event staff.

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.  

“The Board of Directors has made the decision to cancel the 2021 event,” said Bud Welch, Executive Director of the Carolina BalloonFest. “We are disappointed that we will not be able to celebrate the 47th Carolina BalloonFest, but we sincerely thank our patrons for their continued support of our non-profit and our event. Although National Balloon Rally Charities, Inc. relies on the festival income as a source of revenue, we will be returning full refunds to our patrons.”

NBRC, Inc. DBA 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. 

“We are deeply saddened that we do not get to see the smiles on our patrons’ faces as the hot air balloons take flight this year,” continued Welch. “But as it is our nonprofit’s mission to philanthropize the Iredell County community, we know that we are doing the right thing in making this decision as hard as it may be. We hope to see you in 2022 during the third weekend in October.”

“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,” Welch said. “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 NationalBalloon Rally Charities, Inc. DBA Carolina BalloonFest via a PayPal link (https://bit.ly/DonationCBF) or mailed to P.O. BOX 267 Statesville, NC 28677. For further inquiries, please contact Bud Welch at info@carolinaballoonfest.com



National Balloon Rally Charities, Inc. DBA Carolina BalloonFest is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization and all contributions are tax deductible. A portion of proceeds raised through Carolina BalloonFest is distributed to local nonprofit organizations. Learn more about Carolina BalloonFest at www.CarolinaBalloonFest.com.

Author: WSIC News Staff