QUECHEE, Vt. (WCAX) The Quechee Hot Air Balloon Festival has been canceled for the first time in its 40-year history.
The festival usually runs every year on Father's Day weekend. It was initially postponed to September, but officials now say it will be canceled because they could not run it in a safe manner.
“The health and safety of our visitors, vendors, entertainers, balloonists, landowners and volunteers is always our highest priority and this difficult decision was made with their well-being foremost in our minds,” said Hartford Area Chamber of Commerce executive director P.J. Skehan. “We fully support our governor’s measures to combat COVID–19. While we are disappointed to have to make this decision, we believe it is not possible to run our event in a safe manner this year."
Skehan says the event is a major fundraiser of the year for the chamber and pays for the annual operating cost of the Quechee Gorge Welcome Center. "Thankfully our board members have been fiscally responsible the last several years and have put some reserves away so we can survive this year and hopefully make it a bigger and better next year. But like all businesses right now, the chamber is a business, so we are looking for ways to make money, come up with some smaller events, some innovative stuff," said Skehan.
They say they are confident they'll be back next year.