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Carolina festival raises $60k for non-profit groups

Thousands of people attended the 40th Carolina BalloonFest last month, helping organisers to raise $60k for local non-profit charities. Plenty of preparation work had been carried out prior to the event, with corporate sponsorship, the assistance of 600 volunteers and favourable weather conditions all contributing to its success. Executive director Rob Collier said:
“We are recognised throughout the country as one of the premier balloon festivals because of our history in this sport, but we have also raised funds for local non-profits. In the last five years, including this year, we have contributed over $200,000 to our participating non-profits, and in our 40 years my guess is over $1 million.”
Charities were accorded money based on their hours of contribution to the event and how many volunteers took part. One of the main beneficiaries was the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life of Statesville, which was presented with $20,000. The organisers showed their appreciation to the volunteers by holding a banquet at the Statesville Civic Center on November 21. The 230th anniversary of what is thought to be the first ever manned hot air balloon ride was also celebrated on the Thursday. The original flight flew over Paris and involved Jean-Francois Pilatre de Rozier and Francois Laurent, who were watched by Queen Marie Antoinette, King Louis XVI and Benjamin Franklin. Despite the 1781 launch of the ‘ornithopter’ plane - a flying machine which boasted flapping mechanical wings – the balloon flight is considered by many to be the first proper instance of man being launched into the sky.
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