GREENVILLE — A handful of lucky sponsors are going to have the chance to cross a top-tier item off their bucket lists during this summer’s Danish Festival, when the Hot Air Balloon Rally comes to town.
A staple of Danish Festival weekend — this year being Aug. 15 to 18 — the Balloon Rally was notably absent last year due to scheduling conflicts. According to the event’s organizer Tom Brown, last year’s festival took place at the same time as the World Hot Air Championship in Battle Creek.
“We’re looking forward to coming back,” Brown said. “We’ve been really well received by the community, both in the parade and the flights themselves.”
Depending on the weather, each balloonist participating can squeeze in as many as five flights per day. The only caveat is this: Each flight costs money. In terms of hotel accommodations for the balloonists, travel and transportation expenses, and even the propane operators burn to create the hot air; it all adds up.
To help defray these costs, Brown and his fellow balloonists seek sponsorships for the event each year. Petersen’s Oil and Propane, north of Greenville, has already gotten on board for the event this year, providing the requisite fuel. But plenty of other expenses remain to be covered.
“We are incredibly lucky to have Petersen’s on board this year,” Brown said. “That’s a really significant contribution.”
Brown added his challenge this year is to collect as many $500 sponsorships as possible, though he is quick to point out that he in no way wants to pull funding away from other traditional Danish Festival events.
Those who do sponsor a flight will, in return, receive a ride for two, a $500 value in itself. Sponsors also get to take part in a Friday night Sponsor’s Appreciation Party.
Brown, a former Greenville resident who now lives in Plainwell and works in Washington, D.C., maintains close ties with Greenville, which he has seen from many unusual angles.
“The greatest view of Greenville isn’t in Greenville; it’s above it,” Brown said.
Launches will initiate from Klackle’s Pavilion and Orchard, as in previous years.
Those interested in becoming a sponsor for the event can contact Brown at (202) 350-9774 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.