The 29th Pepsi Balloon Race took flight into the skies above New Haven without a hitch on Saturday, September 22, capping a successful weekend that drew huge crowds despite cool, windy conditions on Friday night.
Saturday was a near perfect day, with sunny skies and temperatures in the low 70s.
Twenty-one hot air balloons launched shortly after 5 p.m. in rapid succession in pursuit of the Pepsi “hare” balloon. The pursuing “hound” balloon pilot that drops a bean bag closest to the hare balloon’s landing site is declared the winner, but there was no official winner this year.
“The wind shifted slightly after the hare balloon launched, which took the majority of the balloons slightly south of the scoring field,” said race chairman Brad Zobrist. Closest to the scoring field were Mike Bien of Chesterfield and Kenny Jay of Columbia, but their markers were not within the scoring boundaries.
“Saturday was a great day to fly,” Zobrist said. “All crews reported perfect conditions and soft landings.”
Several hundred people packed New Haven City Park to watch the liftoff for the race after the 2 p.m. Balloon Festival Parade through city streets. Peoples Savings Bank had the winning float, entitled “Honoring People Who Served” and featuring veterans from different branches of service as well as first responders from the community.
The parade theme was “Serving Our Community and Our Country.” The winning organization receives a $300 prize to be donated to the charity of its choosing. There were 30 entries in all, including nearly a dozen floats.
Children attending Saturday’s Chamber of Commerce-sponsored Balloon Festival—held in conjunction with the Pepsi Balloon Race—also enjoyed playing on two bounce houses staffed by members of the New Haven High School Future Business Leaders of America as a fundraiser and community project.
The FBLA reported a steady stream of youngsters at the bounce house/ slide and obstacle course. Pepsi-sponsored events kicked off Friday evening with the annual Balloon Glow at the park.
A huge crowd estimated at more than 3,000 people turned out to see the pilots inflate and illuminate their hot air balloons, backing up traffic on Highway 100 and filling the park to capacity. A favorable weather forecast was spoiled, however, by gusty winds that reached 28 mph and delayed the Glow.
After inflating one balloon around 7 p.m. that was difficult to control in the windy conditions, pilots elected not to attempt any more. A large traffic jam followed as the big crowd began to exit the park. The Balloon Glow offers spectators an up close view of balloons being lighted by their burners. The public is allowed to walk around the balloons and meet the pilots. The popularity of the Glow has grown exponentially since its introduction a few years ago, with larger crowds each year.
With just over two weeks to go, New Haven is gearing up for the 29th Pepsi Balloon Race and Balloon Festival on Friday and Saturday, September 21-22, at City Park.
The free event starts with a Balloon Glow Friday night and continues Saturday with a parade, concessions and children’s activities at the park and the race itself, which usually starts around 5 p.m., weather permitting
Park Drive will be closed for all events and spectators are encouraged to park on Lions Drive or in the New Haven High School and Municipal Swimming Pool parking lots.
The Balloon Glow, sponsored by Pepsi, offers spectators an up close view of inflated hot air balloons lighted by their burners. It runs from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The public can walk around the balloons and meet the pilots. Limited concessions are available for purchase on the park grounds.
The Balloon Glow is held at the New Haven City Park and is a walk through event only. The Balloon Glow is free and open to the public.
Pepsi sponsors the race and glow and the New Haven Chamber of Commerce sponsors the parade and the festival in the park.
Race day kicks off with a parade at 2 p.m., followed by a festival in the park. Bounce houses are offered for the kids, who can bounce all day for $5. Refreshments and food are available for purchase.
Parade entries for the "Serving Our Community and Our Country" are now being accepted. There is no cost to enter. The top prize is a $300 donation to the local charitable organization or civic cause of the winner's choice.
Entries of all types will be considered. Contact co-chairmen Laura Murdock (573-237-1393) or Ruth Wiemann (573-237-3439) for more information. They can also be reached at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Forms may be picked up at any of the three New Haven banks or clipped from this week’s Independent News.
The parade begins at New Haven Elementary School and ends at the American Legion. The parade route is left on Miller Street, left on Maiden Lane, left on Maupin Avenue, right on Emmons Street, left on Douglas Street, across Highway 100 to Park Drive.
Lineup for the 2 p.m. parade starts at 1 p.m. in the grade school parking lot and along Elton Street. The trophy presentation will be held after the last entry arrives and the judges’ scores are tallied.
The balloons begin inflating for launch between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m., weather permitting.
The race begins when the lead “hare” balloon takes off ahead of the pack. Over 20 “hound” balloons then launch in pursuit. The hound balloon that drops its bean bag closest to the hare balloon’s landing site will be declared the winner.
For information about concession booths and other Festival matters, contact chairman Craig Montgomery at 314-805-9542 or email NHChamberSite@gmail.com.
Röbller Vineyard has been named best winery in mid-Missouri by readers of Feast magazine in the publication’s annual Feast 50 issue. Röbller is a member of the New Haven Chamber of Commerce.
Over 100,000 votes were cast by Feast readers in the seventh annual Feast 50 Awards, which highlights the best of Missouri’s food and drink scene. Röbller Vineyard received the top honor out of a list of 15 wineries in the mid-Missouri region, which includes Columbia, Jefferson City, Augusta, Hermann, and surrounding areas.
“We are grateful for this award and thankful to those who voted,” says winemaker Jerry Mueller. “This honor affirms that our commitment to ‘winegrowing’ as a craft is both recognized and appreciated.”
Since 1990, Röbller Vineyard has produced meticulously-crafted, European-style wines using grapes grown exclusively at the family-owned vineyard in New Haven, Missouri. The property boasts panoramic views of the rolling hills and breathtaking sunsets.
This year marks Röbller’s 30th growing season, with the first grapevines planted by Mueller’s parents Robert and Lois Mueller in 1988. Specializing in French inspired winemaking traditions, the vineyard produces a variety of French hybrid grapes including Chambourcin, St. Vincent, Villard Noir, Vidal, Seyval, Vignoles, and Traminette, as well as Missouri’s state grape, Norton.
Röbller wines are sold at multiple locations in St. Louis and mid-Missouri. Complimentary tastings and picnic seating are available seven days a week at the vineyard, located off of HWY 100 in New Haven, a short drive from Hermann. Röbller is also a stop on the Hermann Wine Trail, with events highlighting seasonal food pairings at seven Hermann-area wineries.
To learn more about the Feast 50 Awards, visit www.feastmagazine.com. To learn more about Röbller Vineyard, visit www.robllerwines.com.
A Chamber of Commerce barbecue is planned Saturday, Aug. 18, as a fundraiser for next year’s Miller Landing Days.
The barbecue runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Save-A-Lot parking lot.
On the menu are barbecued pork steaks, bratwursts and hot dogs, with roasted corn, potato salad and baked beans available as sides. Soft drinks will also be available.
As in the recent past, this year's parade will be ending at the American Legion. Due to safety concerns with the amount of participants and attendees, we are not able to have the parade through the park. The New Haven Police Department will direct traffic for the parade and have barricades set up at the ending point. You can download the parade route here:
.Firefest planning is well underway - and the date is coming up quickly (Nov. 3). We are now accepting applications for food and vendors. We are also looking for new and exciting demonstrators and exhibits. Year-after-year we hear that vendors consistently sell out. If you are interested in becoming a vendor or demonstrator, please contact Tara at email@example.com or visit the Firefest page here.
Firefest is celebrating it's 11th event in Downtown New Haven. The primary source of funding is from sponsorships. Please consider becoming a sponsor. More information available here.
Last year saw over 5,000 people in downtown New Haven. We are currently looking for civic groups to assist in parking. If interested and for more details, please contact the director.