are adding a craft vendor show and we have now about 20-22 food vendors with a variety of different foods ,” O ’ Shaughnessy said . “ Balloon school is back on Saturday for those who would like to learn how to use balloons and there will be everyone back for the kids ’ area like putting on costumes , face-painting and the bounce house .”
Balloon School is free to attend and it gives kids and parents a basic understanding of all facets of ballooning .
What is also returning is the beer tent with bands playing throughout the day .
“ We went away from the big main stage last year . It took us three years to see that we are not a music festival , we are a balloon festival and the glows and the lasers ,” O ’ Shaughnessy said . “ We had some great local bands and some bands from the Chicago area in the early years , but only 50 showed up and 75 the next night . “ When realized that when the balloon activities are over , the event is over and people go home . Last year , we had a smaller act in the beer tent and it worked out great . We will have another lineup of local and regional bands that will play until 11 p . m . each night .”
Also , there will be a World War II B25 Bomber coming in from Urbana , Ohio , for people to ride in at a separate cost from the $ 5 admission .
“ They are on the high side expense-wise , but the gentleman behind it says it fills up all the time ,” O ’ Shaughnessy said . “ He is bringing it as an attraction . They sell their own tickets and if you go to our website , there is a link to their website for a half-hour trip on a World War II B25 bomber . The Amazing Giants stilt-walkers from Ohio are coming back and they were a big hit last year .”
There will also be tethered hot air balloon rides that can take 4-8 people at a time up to between 50-100 feet in the air . They will run from 7-10:30 p . m . and the cost is $ 15 for adults and $ 10 for kids 10 and under .
Once again , there will be no shuttles available because of cost , but O ’ Shaughnessy is confident his crew can handle the parking .
“ With the costs of fuel and salary increases , it would take a big chunk of the profits ,” O ’ Shaughnessy said . “ We had 400 parking spots and most people were still driving and we proved that we could park a lot of cars in an orderly and record fashion . Our crew is all back and has helped the sheriff department set a great plan , so I don ’ t see the buses ever coming back just because of the cost .”
The return of the event was a major boost in tourism last year and Danville Area Convention and Bureau Executive Director Jeanie Cooke said that this year ’ s event can definitely see totals go back to 2019 numbers .
“ It was a huge impact because a lot of people come from the area . We began to come back last year , not at our normal level of visitors , but we are confident that it will come back to normal ,” Cooke said . “ It is one of the favorite events , not just for those who live here , but for people that live out of the area . We are excited and early indications are good for a banner year .”
The attendance totals from the first night last year are goals that O ’ Shaughnessy said can happen again .
“ We had over 16,000 visit on that Friday and that is double the usual total because it is more of a warm-up night because people wait on the long Saturday ,” O ’ Shaughnessy said . “ But I think it
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