If ever there was man who deserved to sit on a bench and enjoy the afternoon sun in downtown Lake Havasu City on Tuesday afternoon, it was Jim Day.
As president of the Havasu Balloon Festival & Fair, he was glad to have the events of last week behind him. He was taking a few minutes to relax before he headed into the festival’s retail store to tie up loose ends from the four-day event.
“We had a pretty good weekend. Friday was a killer and it’s hard to make that up. Every year we have a day that doesn’t work out,” he said of the weekend’s festival.
Wind is the enemy of a hot air balloon festival. Sunday was the only calm day that all balloons could launch, although a few were able to fly Saturday morning. That evening’s night glow was particularly well-attended.
“We sold 11,000 wristbands at the gate Thursday, Friday and Saturday,” Day said. “Saturday was our biggest day.”
He believes most vendors did well despite the wind.
“I walked through the Vendor Village on Sunday afternoon as they were tearing down. Many said they did well. That’s why they come back every year. A few said they’d be coming back for Winterfest,” Day said, referring to the Feb. 8-9 event in downtown Havasu.
On Tuesday, Rick Kerber was another happy man in Havasu. He is in charge of volunteers for the festival. He said his end of the operation went off with nary a hiccup.
“We had 1,620 shifts covered,” he said of the volunteers. Some people worked double shifts. Kerber estimated 1,165 volunteer t-shirts were distributed.
“We had a few no-shows – people came down with the flu or something like that,” he said. “And we had left over bottles of water and Pepsi for the volunteers. We went through a lot of coffee at the volunteers’ tent because it was cold.”
The surplus beverages are in storage and will be pulled back out on March 8.
“We’ll have an ice cream social for the volunteers that day, noon to 4 o’clock at the London Bridge Resort’s convention center. We want to thank all the volunteers for their help,” Kerber said.
Executive Director Steve Ticknor was also basking in the afterglow of the festival on Tuesday.
“Overall, the Balloon Festival was extremely successful. So was the carnival. Mother Nature finally came through for us on Sunday,” Ticknor said. “Still, my feeling is that we are down a little bit from last year.”
He emphasized that once the receipts are tallied, all proceeds will be distributed to local charities. He was appreciative of guests who attended the event and said he’s looking forward to the next festival.
“Next year, we’ll have the festival a little bit later – about a week later next January. We want to move it further away from the holidays,” Ticknor said.