Balloons Over Vermilion Leaves People Smiling

Balloons Over Vermilion Leaves People Smiling

Lots of people were already looking forward to next year as Balloons Over Vermilion wrapped up a successful two-day event Saturday night.  Among those thrilled with this year’s crowds and looking ahead is Jim Anderson….

[The Lincoln Hot Air Balloon, piloted by Seth Goodwin of Lincoln, Illinois, lifts off Saturday evening.]
”We’re not only thinking about next year, we’re thinking about the several years thereafter,” said Anderson Saturday night. ”There’s always an awful lot of feedback we get from the folks who come out and join us.  And we’re going to sit down after we get all the beans counted on this and see where we can take the event.  But again, it’s just a wonderful experience.  You can look out across the field and see all the families,” added Anderson. ”Our goal here is to not only watch them walk in the gate with a smile on their face, but walk out with a smile as well.”

Anderson is co-chairman of the Balloons Over Vermilion Steering Committee.  He says having about 35 hot air balloons involved seems to be the right number….

”You know in the old days when we had three times the number of balloons, we actually had more than three times the amount of space. So with the fact that the airport is still a live airport during the course of the weekend this is just the right size footprint – not only for this event but for the community,” added Anderson.

Anderson praised the sponsors, volunteers and others who make the event possible.  And he also noted the Vermilion County hospitality.  One woman praised the operator of an inflatable bounce house when she was allowed to go inside with her child who was afraid…

[Just a small part of the crowd at the Vermilion Regional Airport Saturday evening.]

”It’s what brings the families back, and it’s that kind of Vermilion County hospitality that brings not only the pilots back but extended members of all these people’s families,” said Anderson during an interview with News Saturday night.  ”This is truly a family weekend for so many folks here.  I’ve got family in from Florida and California, and Indiana, and probably a few more states — they just haven’t caught up with me yet.”

Most of the pilots decided not to fly Saturday evening because of gusty winds, but there were still a half-dozen balloons that flew.  The night was capped with another balloon glow and a laser show.


This story was written by Bill Pickett, News Director of Neuhoff Media – Danville.  Got a news tip for Bill?  He can be reached at, or by calling (217) 709-1245.