Lift-Off…it’s not a loan this time

Kinsmen Cornwall Lift-Off 2015, originally scheduled for July 9-12, 2015 in Lamoureux Park, has been cancelled. (Photo/Facebook)

CORNWALL – Saying it wants to “secure operational funding,” the board of directors of Cornwall’s signature hot air balloon festival is asking for a city grant.

An application for $25,000 for Kinsmen Cornwall Lift-Off is before the budget committee, which will likely be heard next week.

It’s a marked departure from previous years where the hot air balloon festival has received only in-kind services from the city.

In the application, spokesman Terry Muir says Lift-Off is going through an extensive re-evaluation process from the number of balloons and pilots to entertainment selections.

“There are many planned changes to the event for 2015 to increase the long term viability of the event,” Muir writes.

The festival generates $100,000+ in spinoff benefits to the community and local business, according to the grant application. But Muir says the event “struggles to break even.”

The organization believes, if it can secure operational money, then it can concentrate its efforts of increasing sponsorships, ticket sales and fund raising.

The hot air balloon festival experienced cash-flow problems in 2011 and was able to secure a $30,000 loan from the city, which was paid back during the festival.

The city’s budget committee is expected to hear grant applications over five hours on Friday Feb. 27 starting at 9 a.m.

The 21st edition of Lift-Off is scheduled to take place July 9-12, 2015 in Lamoureux Park and is expected to draw 10,000 to 25,000 patrons.

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