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The RE/MAX Ballunar Liftoff Festival[10/21-23/2011]

BY Alex Wang [ October 07, 2011 at 02:36:16 ]

Houston, TX –August 30, 2011 - Houston’s most exciting and entertaining outdoor family event blasts off from the NASA/Johnson Space Center October 21-23 as the RE/MAX Ballunar Liftoff Festival fills the skies above Clear Lake for the 18th annual tribute to mankind’s fascination with flight. A seasonal event favorite of southeast Texas, the festival bears special significance this year as Houston celebrates three decades of the Space Shuttle program and the 50th Anniversary of the Johnson Space Center.

In partnership with the City of Nassau Bay, the weekend celebration features approximately 50 giant hot air balloons piloted by the world’s most skilled aerial navigators, punctuated by daylong skydiving exhibitions, para-gliders and hang-gliders, all set in a carnival atmosphere with food, arts and crafts, a midway with rides and live musical entertainment.

Festival admission is just $10 per vehicle, including free onsite parking at Johnson Space Center.

Saturday's expanded NASA Open House will include Space Shuttle exhibits never before seen by the public. In addition to Astronaut training facilities and a mock-up of the ISS, new displays will reveal the next generation of vehicles currently in development.

A Houston tradition, the non-profit RE/MAX Ballunar Liftoff Festival sprouted wings in 1993 and is now a hallmark event that encourages young people’s interest in math and science through the study of aeronautics. Nassau Bay, the traditional hometown for the engineers and pilots who pioneered America’s space exploration, has given partnership support in bringing the festival to an ever-wider audience of families.

Gates open on Friday at 6 p.m. followed by high-energy music and entertainment, with a mass balloon glow at 8:15 p.m. The 7:30 a.m. Shuttle Rendezvous (balloon navigational competition) kicks off Saturday morning, followed by skydivers and air sport activities all day long.

To see a video overview of last year's festival activities, click here ( http://bcove.me/9cb57is3 ). To see video from the Space Shuttle Rendezvous competition, click here ( http://bcove.me/9jq3lktp ).

Vendors contact sunny@clearlakearea.com; festival volunteers contact shari@clearlakearea.com and for the festival schedule and more information, visit www.ballunarfestival.com.

Ballunar Liftoff Festival, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. Its mission is to help the public learn about aviation and space exploration, and to sponsor and fund educational activities that encourage young people to learn about aviation and space and to study mathematics and the sciences.

Who would have thought that in just ten short years an idea to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the first manned flight in France would have grown to become one of the largest balloon events in the United States?

It was early in 1993 that balloon pilot Steve Lombardi decided to organize a small rally in celebration of this historical event. His flight of fancy: combine man’s first form of flight with today’s most technical form of flight, and hold this event at the NASA/Johnson Space Center.

Needing seed money as well as support, Steve approached Richard Filip, CEO/Owner of RE/MAX ofTexas. RE/MAX® balloons, racecars and charity events routinely put the hot air balloon logo "Above the Crowd!®" Plus, the RE/MAX Balloon is one of the most recognized corporate symbols in the world. Needless to say, Richard not only offered financial support, but also offered to dive in headfirst and help organize the event. Further, it was learned that a new visitor’s center at the Space Center was about to open, and they might be receptive to promoting their new facility.

In May of 1993, the first meeting was held between Steve Lombardi, Richard Filip and the promotions and public relations department at Space Center Houston. They elected to hold the First Annual Ballunar Liftoff Festival during August. And because of the support of RE/MAX of Texas , their local offices and sponsors, and of course NASA/Johnson Space Center, the first year was quite a success!

In 1994, the Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce jumped in with their full support for the future, and skydiving and other aerial sport demonstrations were added. The goal was unique: keep the crowds entertained all day, educate them about aviation and space exploration, and further promote the space program.


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