FATE – The Fate City Council voted 5-1 last night to approve entering into an agreement with The Rockwall News LLC to rent Smith Family Park for the first annual Rockwall County Balloon Festival, Nov. 11-12.
As many as 10-20,000 people are expected to attend from across North Texas, where hot air balloon festivals typically attract tens of thousands of people.
News Owner/Publisher J. J. Smith told the Council 10 hot air balloons will launch Friday and Saturday afternoon and early Saturday morning, plus perform glows to music Friday and Saturday evenings. A special Veterans Day musical/glow tribute will be held Friday night.
Two balloons tethered to the ground with ropes will offer five-minute balloon rides up to 80 feet in the air for $20 per adult and $15 per child. One to two-hour balloon flights will also be offered for $300 per couple.
Festival admission is $5 per person. Children under 36 inches are free. Parking is also free.
Four bands will perform free concerts both afternoons and evenings. A Kids’s Zone, with 6-8 inflatable rides/games will be set up, including pony rides and a petting zoo. All-day passes will be sold for $20 per child and individual ride tickets for $5 each.
Over 20 food trucks and food vendors, plus over 50 merchandise vendors will be on hand both days and nights.
Non-profits which provide volunteers can split 15 percent of net proceeds. They can also have a free booth space from which they can sell food or merchandise to earn even more money
At the meeting last night, Smith was asked to give a detailed explanation about traffic and parking control. Council member Nikki Robinson, who explained she loves and attends balloon festivals, complimented Smith for his presentation, saying he provided the details “and more” that Council members had requested in order to make their decision.
Fate City Manager Michael Kovacs and Public Safety Chief Brian Griffith stated their support for the event, noting Fate will be paid a $2,000 park rental fee, plus the estimated $7,500 for police to direct traffic and provide security, including overnight Friday night.
Council members asked numerous questions and expressed concerns about possible traffic congestion, vehicles being parked in neighborhoods and trash pickup, but agreed allowing The Rockwall News to bring thousands of people from across the Metroplex to the Festival at Smith Park will greatly help to bring more businesses and homeowners to Fate.
Robinson said Council members have often talked about bringing “unique, family-oriented events” to show off Fate and this balloon festival certainly qualifies as one.
Smith presented written permission from the Rockwall and Royse City school districts to use school parking lots at Stevenson and May Vernon in Fate Friday and Saturday; plus Royse City Middle School, Davis, Cherry and Herndon parking lots Saturday from 3-11 pm for shuttle buses. Parking will also be available on C.D. Boren and in new Woodcreek subdivisions where homes have not yet been built.
More event co-sponsors are being sought and more food and merchandise vendors are welcome to apply.
For more information see: www.RockwallCountyBalloonFestival.com