As volunteers, citizens and organizers of Freedom Balloon Fest, the all-volunteer team at Project Uplift USA is very excited about the multi-million dollar re-development of Fleming Loop Park now in progress in our Host Community of Fuquay-Varina. The Town of Fuquay-Varina and construction team are committed to completing this project in time for Memorial Day. From everything we’ve seen, we have nothing but confidence, they’ll be done with construction by end of March.
Our understanding is that the construction plan is to have sod laid sometime in October, at the end of the growing season. Mother Nature will take care of the rest when the growing season kicks in next spring. The field and facilities should be ready in time for 2019 youth soccer and other similar field sports. We applaud the Town and construction team for their work to ensure this amazing park renovation will be finished in such a short period of time.
In spite of this wonderfully executed plan, the Freedom Balloon Fest planning team has concerns about the probability for damage to newly laid sod on this otherwise completed project. The impact of foot traffic of Freedom Balloon Fest (typically 12,000-25,000 people per day not including set up time, vehicles, tents, and other required resources) is very different than typical youth sports events. Mother Nature just needs more time - a full growing season - for virgin sod to establish, settle and become more resilient.
Naturally, we want to be good stewards of this revitalized park. We are all helping to pay for this construction project through our tax dollars. We’re not just volunteers, we’re taxpayers too. Thus, we have to balance our responsibility to the park with our desire to have Freedom Balloon Fest continue to grow and thrive in our Host Community.
Simply put, we don’t want to damage a park we have worked so hard to promote and to bring so many from within hundreds of miles around to enjoy. As much as we want it, it’s not wise to have our big community gathering at Fleming Loop Park.
What does this mean for Freedom Balloon Fest 2019 at Fleming Loop Park? We are currently brainstorming options for a temporary plan for Memorial Day weekend 2019, and we have discussed our concerns with the town’s leadership.
We may still have options to bring balloons from all over for us to enjoy and we want to continue our recognition of the service and sacrifice of so many. And, we continue to ask for donor support for our all-volunteer, nonprofit work - every dollar helps. None of our efforts are possible without contributions
Please stay tuned for updates as they become available.
Above all, we hope you will all join us as we continue our mission to remember and to honor the past and present sacrifices of our military families. May we never forget.
Freedom Balloon Fest Planning Team | Project Uplift USA
Project Uplift USA, Inc. is an all-volunteer 501(c)(3). One of its three missions is organize volunteers to manage and find donors to finance the annual Freedom Balloon Fest held during Memorial Day weekend.
The festival is dedicated to the memory of those military who died in service to their country. Additionally, we recognize the sacrifice of all military families. As volunteers, we do these things in an effort to uplift our community and region with a spirit of gratitude and celebration for our freedom in our hearts.
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