Balloonfest returning to Waterford

Balloons readied for takeoff the fifth annual Balloonfest event in 2012 in Waterford. The event is slated to return in 2022 after a three-year absence. (File photo by Terry Alby)

By Dave Fidlin


After a three-year absence, Balloonfest is slated to return to Waterford this year in an abbreviated format.

Luke Francois, superintendent of the Waterford Union High School district, said the midsummer gala is set to occur for one day — Saturday, July 16 — instead of the previous iteration that spanned across an extended weekend.

Francois shared the information with the Waterford Village Board at a meeting Feb. 14 as he gave a presentation on the high school’s upcoming spring facilities-related referendum.

Balloonfest, which ran in Waterford from 2011-2018, had primarily taken place on the Waterford Graded School District’s grounds, at Evergreen Elementary School.

Since the schools were such an integral part of Balloonfest in the past, Francois said it was logical for the entities to take a leadership role in helping bring the event back to Waterford.

“We felt compelled to bring it back,” said Francois, who also serves on the board of directors of Explore Waterford, the entity that arose several years ago from the consolidation of the local chamber of commerce and the tourism-focused Absolutely Waterford.

Balloonfest had been taking place in Mukwonago in recent years, following the departure from Waterford.

Francois said the goal is to gradually reintroduce the event to Waterford with the possibility of further expansion in the years to come.

“We’d like to let it grow organically,” he said.

Balloonfest traditionally has featured the display of 15 to 20 hot hair balloons for what has been described as a signature, family-friendly event.

Past Balloonfests in Waterford also included such festivities as kid’s activities, a craft and vendor fair and on-site food and drink vendors.

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