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Balloon Festival brings high-flying fun to Pahrump

Updated March 4, 2019 - 2:12 pm

The 2019 Pahrump Balloon Festival floated back into town last weekend, with dozens of hot air balloons, a carnival, rodeo, car show and vendors all packing into Petrack Park to bring three days of festive fun to the valley Feb. 22 through Feb. 24.

Despite a close call with a snowstorm just 24 hours before the event, followed by a cold and blustery start of Feb. 22, the Balloon Festival managed to miss the worst of the weather and was declared a triumph once again this year.

“The 2019 Pahrump Balloon Festival went very well,” Pahrump Valley Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Melissa Gebhart enthused after all was said and done.

“Although the weather wasn’t great on Friday during the morning and the afternoon, the wind calmed down in the evening and we were able to have a balloon glow Friday night. We had 28 balloons take off into the skies both Saturday and Sunday mornings, tethered rides and another glow Saturday night that was one of the highlights of the weekend.”

Gebhart said the balloon-themed events were not the only ones to attract sizable crowds, either, with the car show featuring over 25 entries drawing plenty of auto enthusiasts and the Pahrump Valley Junior High and High School rodeo even larger than last year with approximately 500 tickets sold.

Gebhart said more than 120 youth competed in the wide variety of rodeo events while cheered on by an excited and supportive stadium of attendees.

“As for the carnival and vendors, Friday was slow, but the weather turned out beautifully for the rest of the weekend and there were lots of families enjoying the rides, games, shopping and food available. All in all, the weekend was a success for everyone!” Gebhart stated. “Thankfully, the weather warmed up and the sun came out and for both days on the weekend, all events were well attended.”

With an event as massive as the Balloon Festival, it can be difficult to determine the precise number of attendees but Gebhart gave a best guess estimate, stating, “If I had to guess, I’d say about 3,000 to 5,000 people came through.”

“We’ve had really good feedback as far as the event,” Gebhart detailed. “The chamber wholeheartedly believes the Balloon Fest is an important event for the community. It is a great way for families to get outside and do something together, make memories and experience new and fun things.”

However, with the weather of February always a bit unpredictable, she noted that a change in date could possibly be on the horizon, though nothing solid has been decided yet.

“Some people would like to see us move the event to later in the year. I know it used to be in March, but the winds were horrible then, so the event was moved up. I’m looking at our options for a possible change in date in the future,” Gebhart said. “We have to take the balloon pilots into consideration when doing that because they participate in a lot of balloon festivals throughout the year. In order to move it, it will have to fit into an open place in their schedules.”

In conclusion, Gebhart expressed her gratitude to the many sponsors who helped to make the 2019 Balloon Festival possible.

These include AmeriGas, Solar Pros of Nevada, Lisa Bond Real Estate, Saddle West Hotel and Casino, Saitta Trudeau, Purcell Tire, William Lyon Homes, T-Mobile, Nevada State Bank, Meadows Bank, Holiday Inn Express, Golden Casino Group, Preferred RV Resort, Wine Ridge RV Resort and Cottages, Desert View Hospital, McDonald’s, CoreCivic, the Pahrump Tourism department and the Nye County Commission.

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com

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