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Good launches, crowds at 2022 Wellsville Balloon Rally

Photo by Kathryn Ross

The Great Wellsville Balloon Rally got four out of four launches, even though some launches saw just a few balloons take to the air.


By KATHRYN ROSS

WELLSVILLE — The 45th annual Great Wellsville Balloon Rally is in the record books as being one of the most successful in recent years.

Coming off a morning launch July 17 that saw all but one of the more than two dozen registered balloons take flight, Great Wellsville Balloon Rally chairman Brad Thompson was full of good news.

“We got in four launches for the weekend and the crowd hung in there,” he noted.

Only three balloons launched on night of July 16, when the crowd was at its peak. Due to thunderheads on the horizon and reported storms in the southwest, pilots were warned to fly at their own risk. Prevailing wind had the balloons traveling in a southeast direction.

However, the night was still alight with many balloons inflating for the Balloon After Glow and entertained by the live music until an expansive fireworks display, which lasted more than half an hour.

“It doesn’t matter how many balloons go up,” Thompson said.

According to past chairs of the event, if one goes up it still counts as a launch, he said, tongue in cheek. He also explained that although this is the 47th year since the Rally started, the COVID-19 pandemic canceled the 2020 and ‘21 rallies and in a nod to superstition the 13th Rally was skipped and counted as the 14th.

“There was nothing but positives for this Rally,” Thompson said. “There were no problems that I was informed of. We had a lot of people. We had four new balloonists, several new sponsors and some of our old sponsors stepped up to the next level. It was an absolute success.”

Thompson reminded those wanting to attend the Great Wellsville Balloon Rally in 2023 — the event will take place later in the month from July 21-23.

The success also pertained to the annual Main Street Festival on Saturday which saw several new vendors, organizations participating and plenty of entertainment and food. The crowd was steady from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

“I think it was a good event with steady crowds throughout the day. It was good for us,” said Angela Glickstein a board member who staffed a booth for the Thelma Rogers Genealogical and Historical Society/Nathaniel Dike Museum.

She noted that there was a wide variety of people who stopped to take a look at the antiques and photographs of old Wellsville and find out that the Dyke Street museum is open to the public from 1 to 4 p.m. Wednesdays.

After two consecutive weekend events in Wellsville, the village is taking a well-earned rest, while the Wellsville Area Chamber of Commerce is already planning events for the Fall.