Still it all looks like good clean fun ;-)
Adam Matthews balloon fest adds 2 sponsors
By Sheldon S. Shafer
It's already the world's fifth-largest gathering of hot-air balloons, but
the Adam Matthews Festival at Bowman Field has picked up a pair of
three-year corporate sponsorships destined to make it bigger, the chief
With 105 balloons expected for September's event, it has a ways to go to be
No. 1. That honor is held by the Albuquerque, N.M., Balloon Fiesta, with
about 700 balloons.
"Our goal is to be No. 2," said Adam Burckle, head of the Adam Matthews
Foundation, which started and organizes the event.
The Quick Chek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning was No. 2 in 2006 with as
many as 125 balloons, Burckle said.
The ninth annual Adam Matthews Festival, previously called a Balloon
Festival, is scheduled Sept. 28-30 at the airport off Dutchmans Lane and
Taylorsville Road. Except for parking, all activities are free.
Last year the festival drew about 120,000 people over three days and nearly
100 hot-air balloons. That's nearly twice the number that the Kentucky Derby
Festival's Great Balloon Race attracts.
Burckle said he expects this year's event to include balloons from Brazil,
Canada and about 25 states.
Burckle, who owns the Adam Matthews Cheesecake company, is heading the
effort to restore the Louisville Clock designed by the late Barney Bright.
The cheesecake company helps support the foundation, which Adam and Mary Lee
Burckle founded in 1999 to give back to the Louisville community.
He said Meijer's and Dean's Milk have each signed three-year commitments to
help underwrite the festival.
He declined to say how much money they are putting up, but it's the first
time the festival has had multiyear sponsorship deals with more than one
corporation, Burckle said.
The new financial backing has allowed several enhancements to this year's
balloon gala, Burckle said, including:
On Friday, Sept. 28, children from 100 or more area schools will be invited
to Bowman Field for "balloon education day" that will include lessons and
demonstrations on flight and aeronautics.
A "two-legged race" Saturday morning in which the expected 100 or more
balloons will inflate at least two miles from Bowman Field, try to find the
right air current to float over the airport and then drop a beanbag at a
The balloons will stay aloft and then follow a "hare" balloon to a remote
location and drop a second beanbag in a traditional "hare-and-hound" race.
"There is no other event in the eastern United States like it," Burckle
A Sunday "wings and wheel" show at the airport at which more than 500
antique cars and several dozen vintage aircraft will be on displayed. A
Sunday morning "hare-and-hound" balloon race also is set.
Balloon glows are planned Friday and Saturday evenings, and fireworks are
scheduled for about 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Live music and other
entertainment will be offered throughout the weekend.
Festival hours will be 5 to 10:30 p.m. Friday, 7 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Saturday
and 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
Parking will cost $5 on Friday and $7 on Saturday and Sunday, with proceeds
going to programs funded by the Adam Matthews Foundation, including the
clock's restoration, Burckle said.
The two new corporate sponsors, Burckle said, "will allow us to have the
resources to grow to a worldwide event in terms of our number of balloons."