Balloons Over Anderson canceled due to inclement weather - FOX Carolina 21

Balloons Over Anderson canceled due to inclement weather

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Balloons Over Anderson (File) Balloons Over Anderson (File)
ANDERSON, SC (FOX Carolina) -

The Balloons Over Anderson festival scheduled for the weekend has been canceled due to impending weather from Hurricane Matthew, organizers said Thursday.

This would have been the 8th year for the hot-air balloon festival.

Craig Childress Johnson released the following statement about the decision to cancel.

We regret to inform our enthusiastic fans that we have been compelled to cancel the 2016 Balloons Over Anderson Festival scheduled to open on Friday the 7th of October.

A category 4 hurricane is expected to make South Carolina landfall during the planned festival dates of Oct 7-9. Many South Carolina counties are under a state of emergency and we have been advised there would be no emergency services available to us during the festival. More than a million people in South Carolina are expected to make their way inland at least one hundred miles. Mandated evacuations are already under way with our coastal interstates now reversed to a single flow of traffic inland.

More specific to hot air ballooning, Flight Service weather indicates poor flying conditions can be expected, even if the storm center stays well to the east of Columbia. Wind gradients have become substantial and it would be dangerous to attempt take offs in present and expected wind conditions. Attempting to land balloons in such wind would be reckless and truly life threatening. Safety is our first concern and dictates that we keep everyone on the ground.

We have been fielding many queries about rescheduling the festival. The logistics of putting on a festival require more than a year of preparation and planning. Musicians, caterers, food vendors, amusement operators, sanitation, security, housing, traffic management, and volunteer mobilization have to be arranged months in advance. Publicity requires many months to be effective.

We can offer our prayers and good wishes for those of us who are going to be facing immediate threats of the highest order. We are thankful for our enthusiastic supporter, patrons, and volunteers of Balloons Over Anderson.

Hurricane Matthew is expected to impact the South Carolina coast late Friday night and into Saturday.

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