Tourism booming in Van Wert as balloon fest lifts off

(Indiana’s NewsCenter) – Tourism in Van Wert is booming compared to other communities in the Buckeye state.

A new study released by the Van Wert Area Convention and Visitors Bureau shows 1 in every 10 jobs in the county is supported by tourism. It also shows visitors spent $35 million there last year.

“I couldn’t be any more pumped up about the possibilities of this event and others like it stimulating the economy in this area,” said Jerry Mazur, event organizer, Hot Air Festival.

Jerry is the man in charge of the Hot Air Festival happening this weekend in Van Wert. After being idle for 13 years he brought this event back attracting even more people to the community.

“We have people coming in from Cincinnati, Dayton, we have them from Michigan. We have a lot of people coming in from Michigan. We have Kendallville and other places like that. We have people from a broad spectrum of places,” said Mazur.

The weather wasn’t very cooperative Saturday. The balloons couldn’t go up because of the wind speed but Friday, the first day of the festival, they took many festival-goers up. One woman told Indiana’s NewsCenter going in a hot air balloon is something that has been on her bucket list.

“Oh it was up up and away, and beautiful. We went 12,000 feet and everything looked so small that you could almost pick it up and put it in your hand,” said Janet McCrory.

Although the weather wasn’t favorable for balloons Saturday there were plenty of other things for people to take part in. They had train rides for the kids, bagpipes playing, games and of course lots of food.