First hot air balloon festival comes to Fairfield County

Posted on:

< < Back to

Hot air balloons will be filling the sky this weekend in Lancaster while helping victims of violent crime.

The first Fairfield County Hot Air Balloon Festival is being held at the Fairfield County Airport.

The event is free but donations will be accepted and all proceeds will go to the Healing Hearts Memorial Fund.

Event Organizer Tom Furlong said "The gentleman that owns Keller Farms was the Uncle of Tina Hermann who was killed in Knox County, her and her son. So he had always wanted to do a balloon festival and after this incident happened up in Knox County, they started a foundation and he though this would be a fantastic way to try and fund the foundation."

The bodies of Herrmann, 32; her son, Kody Maynard, 11, and a family friend, Stephanie Sprang, 41, were found in a wooded area in November of 2010.

Matthew Hoffman pleaded guilty to aggravated murder, gross abuse of a corpse, burglary, kidnapping and rape.

He was sentenced to life in prison .

Investigators said that Hoffman's motive was robbery.

The Healing Hearts Memorial Fund provides grants for financial assistance to survivors and families of violent crimes.

It helps the family members get the resources they need to start putting their lives back together.

Furlong said the festival will be something the whole family can enjoy.

"We will have a cold air balloon or what we call a walk-about balloon. It's a balloon that's inflated like we're inflating for a flight, only it stays laying down on the ground and people can go inside it and run around and play in it if they want." said Furlong.

The balloons will take to the air around 6:45 p.m.

But it won't end there.

"Once we fly, we'll land and tear the balloon apart, bring it back to the airport and we will re-inflate at the airport again and do what they call a glow from about 8:30 p.m. To 10:00 p.m." said Furlong.

A glow is when the balloons re-inflate on the ground when it is dark and the fire lights up the inside of the balloons.

Furlong said 10 or 11 balloons will be involved.

Bounce houses will be at the airport for children to play in and a food vendor will be on hand.

Furlong said they hope to turn the festival into a yearly event.