Citing health and safety, Plano Balloon Festival organizers cancel event for second time in 3 years

The Plano Balloon Festival will be canceled once again as organizers look to ensure the health and safety of participants. (Courtesy Plano Balloon Festival)
The Plano Balloon Festival will be canceled once again as organizers look to ensure the health and safety of participants. (Courtesy Plano Balloon Festival)

The Plano Balloon Festival will be canceled once again as organizers look to ensure the health and safety of participants. (Courtesy Plano Balloon Festival)

Organizers have canceled the Plano Balloon Festival for the second time in three years, citing the "health and safety" of attendees and participants.

The hot air balloon festival, originally planned for late September, has been a prominent fixture in North Texas for more than four decades. Organizers said they were "extremely mindful" of the large numbers of balloon pilots, out-of-town residents, volunteers and contractors who would have descended on Plano's Oak Point Park and Nature Preserve if the event had gone on as scheduled.

"While we are saddened to cancel this year’s event, we feel the safety of all involved is of the utmost importance," festival Executive Director Jo Via said in a statement. "This decision is not easy, but it is necessary."

The festival was also canceled in 2018 at the last minute as a dreary Friday evening weather forecast became an unexpected downpour that flooded the grounds of the park and made holding the event impossible.

Prior to 2018, organizers had occasionally suspended parts of the festival, Via said at the time. But never before had it been forced to cancel all operations.


This year, the organization behind the festival is still preparing a number of virtual and socially distanced activities, including a virtual option to run a half-marathon, 10K, 5K or 1K. Participants in these distanced races will receive a 10-year commemorative finisher medal and T-shirt.

Organizers will also release a video highlighting some of the top moments in the festival's ballooning history.
By Daniel Houston
Daniel Houston covers city government, transportation, business and education for Community Impact Newspaper in Lewisville, Flower Mound and Highland Village. A Fort Worth native and Baylor University graduate, Daniel reported previously for The Associated Press in Oklahoma City and The Dallas Morning News.


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