Downtown Muncie street festival with hot air balloons to land on August 6

MUNCIE, Ind. – A new street festival for downtown Muncie is coming this summer, complete with hot air balloons, hot food and – most likely, since it’s scheduled for the first week of August – warm weather.

Muncie Downtown Development Partnership is hosting a one-day event called Fire Up DWNTWN, presented by Ivy Tech Muncie, on August 6.

“What started as a simple idea to bring back elements of iconic events past has led to six months of planning, fundraising and partnerships to bring the event to fruition,” said Cheryl Crowder, Director of the event for Muncie Downtown Development Partnership in a statement. “Now we are delighted to invite everyone.”

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The new festival echoes the old Summer Heat balloon festival, which began at the Delaware County airport in the 1990s and ended a roughly 14-year streak, and the center event -city Ribfest, which lasted 15 years and ended after 2014.

DWNTWN Fire Up activities will include music and hot air balloons used for a light show on the ground, as well as a hot air balloon ride.

The event will begin at 1 p.m. on August 6 in the streets of downtown. Food and drink will be plentiful, according to Vicki Veach, executive director of the partnership, and will include barbecued ribs, downtown restaurant favorites and a variety of food vendors.

Downtown merchants and other vendors will provide deals and activities, she added.

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A HotSpot kids’ area on Walnut Street will feature sparkly hot air balloon baskets with burners, a lava slide, mechanical pig, kiddie train and other interactive activities. Vendors of handicrafts, raku pottery, metalwork, chili-eating contests and other exhibits will line the sidewalks downtown that day, according to a statement from the Downtown Partnership.

Musical entertainment will be provided throughout the day at the Canan Commons stage and at the Ivy Tech Plaza at Charles and High streets. Freaky Tiki Friday will return with Doc Peterson and his friends in the parking lot next to Casa Del Sol.

Muncie police and firefighters will compete in rib-eating contests, waterball contests and an MRAP Pull, in which teams will pull a 14-ton military vehicle, according to Veach.

Featured attractions in the early evening will include seven hot air balloons flying over Canan Commons and 10 special-shaped hot air balloons inflating in parking lots and areas around the park. At dusk, 10 balloons will perform a 90-minute illumination show to music, with the event ending with fireworks from Great Grizzly/Boomers Factory Direct Fireworks.

Tethered balloon rides will be offered from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Canan Commons at a cost of $20 per person.

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Entrance to the festival is free.

“It takes community-wide support to make an event of this caliber a reality,” Veach said.

Organizers are calling for about 100 volunteers to help with the special-shaped balloons, chase crews for hover balloons, help with set-up and take-down, golf cart drivers and runners. Anyone interested in volunteering should contact Veach at [email protected]

Veach said more details about the event will be announced in the coming weeks.

David Penticuff is the local government reporter at the Star Press. Contact him at [email protected]

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