DONALDSONVILLE — The recent 2012 Louisiana Hot Air Balloon Championship Festival held at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales was a “huge success,” Parish President Tommy Martinez told the Ascension Parish Council Thursday.
“In the history of Ascension Parish, there’s never been an event as large as this festival,” Martinez said during the council’s meeting at the Ascension Parish Courthouse.
The council praised the efforts of all involved with the event, including the committee members who organized the festival in only a few months time.
Originally held in East Baton Rouge Parish, the event was staged in Ascension Parish for the first time after local officials assumed control of the event from the Louisiana Ballooning Foundation.
The festival brought in a much larger audience than originally expected, Committee Chairman Brad Walker said.
“We expected about 25,000 people total for the weekend, and we got that and more on Friday alone,” he said. “Saturday, we doubled that.”
Martinez said that initial estimates from the expo center show about $35,000 coming from concession sales alone during the event.
Walker said that he would return to a future council meeting to present a full report on the festival, including revenue figures. He added that plans are already in the works for the festival to return next year.
“These are the quality of life type of events that we want to bring to Lamar-Dixon and Ascension Parish,” Martinez said. “Hopefully, the success of this event will help us to bring more like it here in the future.”
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