Pilot Josh Goll and “Star Stepper” are among the 50 hot air balloons and pilots that came to the 2018 InTouch Credit Union Plano Balloon Festival. Even though they loaded up and made the trip with his family, the Festival was cancelled due to flooding. We’d like to show you his beautiful balloon and share his story.
Let’s reflect back to to 2017 and his first time on the Festival field as a pilot. It is quiet on a Sunday morning. The air is still, and the only sound is the intermittent hiss of a propane burner. The number 16 balloon, Star Stepper, glides southwest over the launch field toward a target spray painted on the grass. The pilot, Josh Goll, gets within feet of the giant red X marking the spot. He tosses a bean bag at the target, and the watching crowd break the silence to cheer his win. Goll expertly piloted his balloon so close to the target at the Festival Fly-In Competition that a spectator might forget the breeze is in control of its direction.
Throughout the 39 years of producing this annual tradition within North Texas, the Plano Balloon Festival, Inc. has never experienced such a devastating loss. The Festival is not a large corporate entity, but rather a 501(c)3 non-profit organization led by 13 Board of Directors. The sadness, and significant economic loss, is shared with the 58 local non-profits, 75 vendors, dozens of sponsors, pilots, crew, and more than 5,000 volunteers who were committed to the event.
The Festival mission is to produce a family-oriented ballooning event to benefit the community. The objective is to also offer other non-profits an opportunity to assist with the operations of the Festival and raise funds. These agencies work the gates, parking lots, kids fun zone and the races. For their services these non-profits are compensated a portion of the revenue. However, this year they earned no money to apply towards their impactful programs within the community.
In the 39 years of producing the beloved Plano Balloon Festival, we have steadfastly measured success on two fronts – the number of people we are able to wow with the beauty of hot air balloons, and the dollars raised by the non-profits who rely on the success of the festival to meet their annual fundraising goals. Sadly, mother nature took it upon herself to intervene, and 2018 will not go down as a banner year on either front.
A three-day outdoor festival in Texas is a wildly ambitious endeavor, but we are not deterred. Our mission is to provide nonprofit agencies an opportunity to raise funds and awareness for their programs and services, which ultimately enhances the quality of life for all North Texans. The Festival has circulated more than 3 million dollars back into the Collin County and Plano community. Supporters and friends of the Festival, people like you, choose to give through corporate sponsorship, ticket purchase or race participation so we can hold true to our mission year-after-year.
The Plano Balloon Festival, Inc. has partnered with the North Texas Food Bank and the City of Plano in the 5th Annual Plano Peanut Butter Drive and will accept donations at the 2018 InTouch Credit Union Plano Balloon Festival. The festival is September 21-23 at Oak Point Park in Plano and collection boxes will be on-site throughout the weekend.
“We invite our attendees to donate a plastic, 16 oz. jar of peanut butter to help us reach this year’s ambitious goal of collecting 50,000 pounds to help feed our hungry neighbors,” says Jo Via, Executive Director of the Plano Balloon Festival, Inc.
Food insecurity often goes unseen but affects 16% of the people in Collin County and one of every four children across North Texas. By raising awareness about this need and, more importantly, giving people in the community an opportunity to meet the need, the InTouch Credit Union Plano Balloon Festival helps to make Plano better for everyone. Peanut butter collected in this drive will be distributed to hungry families in Collin County and the 13 counties served by the NTFB.
The InTouch Credit Union Plano Balloon Festival began in 1980 in the City of Plano, and new for 2018 is a spacious location to set-up balloon operations headquarters. More than 50 hot air balloon pilots and hundreds of crew members will be hosted by Celebration Event Center located at the Northwest corner of Custer Road and Park Blvd.
“The pilots and balloon crew members will be extremely excited and wowed by the amazing Celebration Event Center and Ballroom. In the 39 years of Plano Balloon Festival pilot and crew functions, this facility is offering the very best place for their gatherings,” states Jo Via, Executive Director for the InTouch Credit Union Plano Balloon Festival.
The three-day festival weekend is September 21-23 and the majority of the 10,000 square ft facility, including the Large Ballroom, is to be used exclusively by pilots and crew. There are a few regularly scheduled classes that will continue in rooms located within the building such as Zumba, Martial Arts, and Bollywood Dance.
Camp Gladiator has partnered with the Plano Balloon Festival Races to help runners when they pick-up race packets on September 15 and 16 at Academy Sports and Outdoors at 4045 N. Central Expressway in Plano. Runners who are already registered for the Plano Balloon Festival Races can pick-up race packets from Camp Gladiator representatives between 11:00 am and 6:00 pm.
There is no race day registration or packet pick-up. Additional packet dates are as follows:
Thursday, Sept 20 – 2:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Friday, Sept 21 – 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Saturday, Sept 22 – 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Plano Event Center, Spring Glade Room, 2000 E. Spring Creek Parkway, Plano, TX 75074
Camp Gladiators will work alongside the Plano Balloon Festival Races to promote health, fitness and being outdoors. Camp Gladiator is a four-week outdoor group fitness program. Each workout or “Camp” is a 60 minute, full-body workout incorporating both cardio and strength training. The mission of Camp Gladiator is to positively impact the physical fitness and ultimately the lives of as many people as possible.
“Exercising outside has so many benefits to exercising inside. When you’re outside, your body is having to work with so many external elements – temperature, wind, dynamic surfaces, etc.,”says Camp Gladiator partner trainer Becky Leverett. “When you challenge your body with an unstable environment, your muscles and brain are constantly having to react and re-adjust which makes it hard for the body and brain to ever become complacent and bored.”
Runners and walkers of every fitness level will have the opportunity to connect with nature, get some fresh air, and see the soaring balloons festival weekend. The 1K fun run and 5k are on Saturday, September 22 and the 10k and Half Marathon run on Sunday, September 23. Registration is online only. Camp Gladiator trainers are prepared to lead the pre-run warm-ups both days, and be on site all weekend at the festival to connect with the Plano community and encourage active lifestyles.
“Our bodies are capable of so much more than we give it credit for,” says Leverett. “I challenge every person to step outside of their comfort zone and run that race or attend a camp.”
Camp Gladiator is the largest adult outdoor fitness program in the Nation and DFW Metroplex. Those ready for more outdoor fitness opportunities can find more than 50 Plano-area Camp Gladiator programs at CampGladiator.com for all local camps or connect with Leverett via email email@example.com with any questions.
General registration for the Plano Balloon Festival Races ends August 31 and online registration for the Challenges closes at Noon on Friday, September 21 and the Half Marathon and 10K race registration closes at Noon on Saturday, September 22. The InTouch Credit Union Plano Balloon Festival is a three day weekend starting September 21 and continuing until Sunday, September 23, 2018 at Oak Point Park in Plano, TX. Advance tickets are available online at www.planoballoonfest.org or at participating InTouch Credit Union locations starting September 1. #PBFRaces #PlanoBalloon
Free Live Tracking and Progress Alerts on Race Day
The Plano Balloon Festival Half Marathon, Relay, 5K and 1K is sponsoring RaceJoy to provide participants and spectators these features for free (normally a 99 cents upgrade fee for both the participant and spectator). September 23-24, 2017 the PBF Races will be held at Oak Point Park in Plano, Texas the weekend of the InTouch Credit Union Plano Balloon Festival. General registration ends 9/16 and all race courses and run information is detailed on the website: www.pbfraces.org. #PBFRaces
Download the RaceJoy mobile app for live phone tracking at the Plano Balloon Festival Half Marathon, Relay, 5K and 1K. The RaceJoy app is available on Apple and Android devices. All participating runners must turn disable WiFi settings on race day or the tracking will disengage.
Hello, my name is Steve Laswell and I am the Volunteer Crew Coordinator for the 2017 InTouch Credit Union Plano Balloon Festival. I would like to share with you and your group of some volunteer opportunities for the Plano Balloon Festival. We are recruiting folks to help crew for a Hot Air Balloon Pilot for our Festival on September 22, 23, and 24, 2017.
This summer the Plano Balloon Festival, Inc. received an incredible list of honors during the marketing awards competition at the annual Texas Festivals and Events Association (TFEA) Conference in Austin, Texas. The awards given were for marketing materials designed for the event last year that was themed “Paint the Skies”.
More than 430 entries were submitted across this great State of Texas and we are so proud to have been recognized in multiple categories for our marketing efforts. The 1st Place honors included: Event Website, Best Promo Brochure, Best Misc Printed Material, Best Event Photograph, and Best Other Merchandise. The 2nd place honors included: Best Event Poster, Best Event T-Shirt Design, and Best Hat. The 3rd place honor was for Best T-Shirt Design.
This year the InTouch Credit Union Plano Balloon Festival includes a new theme “Alive with Color” to be held September 19-21, 2014 at Oak Point Park in Plano, TX. Additional details and the schedule of events for the festival are available here: http://www.planoballoonfest.org/event-information