Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Entertainment

July 18, 2013

ELKHART COUNTY FAIR: 25 years for hot-air balloon chases

GOSHEN — A colorful aerial display that has been painting the sky above the fairgrounds for more than two decades will continue this year.

Hot-air balloonists will gather for the 25th year on the infield near the grandstands to display their balloons in the evening and also race, or more accurately float, across the sky to wherever the wind takes them.

“I have 21 balloons coming,” said Gene Stutsman, who organized the first event 25 years ago. “Eight of them are special shaped balloons.”

Those special balloons are shaped liked animals and cartoon characters. Lifting off will be balloons named Spunky, The Purple People Eater, Coco the Clown, Buzzy The Bee, Gordo The Monkey, Pirate Parrots, Puddy Cat and Tweety Bird.

“We have quite a bit invested in this one so I hope we have some good weather for it,” Stutsman said.

Balloonists will be coming from all across the country. Stutsman said two will be coming from Atlanta, five from Missouri and others from here and there. Participating balloonists will be competing for shares of a $3,000 purse during the weekend.

Twenty-five years for a fair event is a long run and the balloon competitions came about because of Stutsman’s personal interest in ballooning.

“I had just gotten a balloon and Steve Bartow, who was vice president (of the fair) that year, asked me if I would come out that year and bring some balloons and put on a show,” Stutsman said. “We had 10 the first year.”

Asked if he expected to have such a long-term event back then, Stutsman said, “No I didn’t. I am surprised we made it this far.”

As a fair attraction, the balloon glow and weekend flights are something special, he believes.

“It really is kind of special,” Stutsman said. “I know for sure that our fair is the only one that has had a balloon chase ongoing for 25 years. And the State Fair only makes one flight. So, it has been a special plus as an event for the Elkhart County Fair.”

Helping Stutsman organize the event all these years has been his wife Ann. His son Jeremy and committee members Tim Yoder, Steve Hrynewycz and Bob Yeoman also pitch in.

The balloon schedule has four events. On opening night of the fair there will be a flight in the evening and then a “balloon glow” at 10 p.m. where balloons will be tethered and filled so the public can get a close-up look at the unique aerial inventions.

There will also be flights on Saturday morning, Saturday night and Sunday morning.

Stutsman said most balloons are sponsored but there are still a few openings for those wanting to book a ride. A ride will cost $140 and anyone wanting to schedule one should call Stutsman at 533-6110.

Owning a hot air balloon is not for those who have thin wallets. Stutsman said, “Special shapes run $75,000 to $100,000 and regular balloons are up to $30,000 to $40,000 now.”

Interest in ballooning has dipped a little over the years, according to Stutsman.

“The sport has diminished some. Balloons have worn out and people have gotten to the age where they decided to quit flying,” he said. “It’s like everything else, it gets to a high point and then diminishes.”

Now Stutsman operates the only balloon in the Goshen area that is rated to carry passengers, which he still does. He said flights normally last 40 minutes to an hour.

 

1
Text Only
Entertainment
  • Country/gospel sing underway at Buck Lake A Michiana Country/Gospel Weekend is underway at Buck Lake Ranch in Angola. Today there will be concerts all day from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Bands scheduled to play today include: Backwoods Ramblers, Heartstrings Bluegrass, Heaven Bound, Aaron Stutzman (y

    June 27, 2014

  • ENT GN0626 hbo image 02 HBO drama probes the trauma of a missing 2 percent NEW YORK — Not long ago, 2 percent of the world’s population vanished. Quietly, instantly, with no provocation.This unfathomable loss continues to haunt all those left behind, including residents of the small New York town that serves as the setting

    June 26, 2014 2 Photos

  • ENT GN0626 eli wallach image Eli Wallach, veteran character actor, dies NEW YORK — Eli Wallach, the raspy-voiced character actor who starred in dozens of movies and Broadway plays over a remarkable and enduring career and earned film immortality as a conniving, quick-on-the-draw bandit in the classic Western "The Good, t

    June 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140619 moe at ignition 10.jpg Stars align in Nashville to bring jam band, moe. to Goshen last week GOSHEN You got to love it when a plan comes together.Jason Samuel is on a five­?week sabbatical doing research for a music project. In Nashville, he’s at the home of a Sugar Hill Records senior radio rep. He’s in the same office as Sugar Hill managem

    June 22, 2014 7 Photos

  • GN140622 preservation hall concert 04.jpg CONCERT REVIEW: Preservation Hall Jazz Band proves again it's special

    For more than 50 years, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band has blended the power and mystery of New Orleans jazz into a sound that seemingly blows your hair back and chases away your troubles. They're smooth. They're cool. They're as good as it gets in American artistry.

    June 21, 2014 8 Photos

  • GN140619 moe at ignition 6.jpg SLIDESHOW: Ignition welcomes moe. American jam band moe. took a break from its national touring schedule to stop at Ignition Garage in Goshen for a concert and interview session that aired on live on 91.1 The Globe.

    June 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140619 ECT Final Elkhart Civic Theatre class to perform final project Friday and Saturday Think school is over? Well, not for the youth of Elkhart Civic Theatre as they present their final theatre class projects, Going…Going...Gone With the Breeze and Storyteller’s Theatre on Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Bristol Opera House in Bristol.

    June 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • GN140614 Lubeck Goshen native to kick off New Carlisle concert series

    NEW CARLISLE — The Homestead in New Carlisle will kick off its summer concert series June 28 with the jazz sounds of Bryan Lubeck and his six-piece ensemble. Bryan Lubeck released Tuscan Sky in 2013. The album spent 16 weeks on the Smooth Jazz radio

    June 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • moe at ignition Ignition Music books moe. show for Wednesday

    The nationally-recognized band, moe., will perform at Ignition Music Garage in downtown Goshen on Wednesday, according to Ignition owner Steve Martin.

    June 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140612 PHJB New Orleans dynamos Preservation Hall Jazz Band to play Elkhart Jazz Festival Whether it's at a massive festival like Bonnaroo or at a small club, the eight members of Preservation Hall Jazz Band quite simply bring it. And they'll be bringing their massive talents to the Elkhart Jazz Festival next week.

    June 12, 2014 1 Photo

Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
AP Video
Argentina to Face Germany in World Cup Final Service Held for 200 Whose Bodies Went Unclaimed Kim Kardashian Hits Up Valentino Show in Paris "Hotwives" Spoofs Reality TV Israeli Offensive Escalates in Gaza Attack Dozens Gain Citizenship As Debate Continues Dodgers Found Partly Responsible in Fan Beating Children of Deported Parents Speak Out GOP: Immigration a 'human Rights Issue' Raw: 10-year Sentence for Ex-New Orleans Mayor Raw: Fans Gather for Argentina-Netherlands Match Froome Crashes Out on Bumpy 5th Tour Stage Obama Talks Economy, Slams Republicans Police: Prostitute Accused in Overdose Death Tornadoes Kill Four in Central New York McCaskill: Campus Assault Survey Is Wake Up Call Raw: Obama Shoots Pool in Denver Typhoon Nears Japan's Main Islands Day After: Brazil Reeling in WC Loss Weaver Reprises Ripley Role for 'Alien' Game
Poll

Thousands of people flock to downtown Goshen each month for First Fridays, which has steadily strengthened into a Goshen tradition. What is your favorite First Fridays theme?

Fire & Ice Festival (Jaunary)
Crusin’ Reunion (July)
Sandblast! beach volleyball (August)
Arts Tour (November)
Hometown holiday (December)
Other
     View Results