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Sat, Dec. 07

Havasu Balloon Festival earned $150K for charities

This year's Havasu Balloon Festival, the three-day event raised about $150,000 in January, approximately matching earnings made by the festival in 2018. (Photo by Julie Wilson via the Today's News-Herald)

This year's Havasu Balloon Festival, the three-day event raised about $150,000 in January, approximately matching earnings made by the festival in 2018. (Photo by Julie Wilson via the Today's News-Herald)

LAKE HAVASU CITY – The work of thousands of volunteers, organizers and local clubs will see fruition next week with the donation of about $150,000 dollars to Lake Havasu City charities, thanks to the city’s annual balloon festival.

With an assortment of new activities and features at this year’s Havasu Balloon Festival, the three-day event raised about $150,000 in January, approximately matching earnings made by the festival in 2018. That money was this week divided equally among the event’s sponsors, including the city’s five Lions and Rotary clubs. According to Balloon Festival organizer Marquita McKnight, each of the clubs will disburse its $30,000 to Havasu charitable organizations on April 10.

While earnings were high despite winds and inclement weather, they failed to approach proceeds earned in 2016, when the Balloon Festival netted $170,000.

“We were expecting it to be the same as the year before,” McKnight said. “Sometimes it’s the date, sometimes it’s who’s in town, sometimes it’s the weather. We never know how many people are going to come.”

In the past decade, the Balloon Festival has provided almost $1 million to local nonprofit organizations. According to McKnight, it’s a milestone Balloon Festival officials expect to surpass next year. The festival saw 24,000 attendees this year, and as the Balloon Festival grows in popularity among pilots and spectators, annual proceeds could grow as well.

Each year, those proceeds are distributed evenly between the London Bridge Rotary, Lake Havasu City Rotary, Sunrise Rotary, Daybreakers Lions and London Bridge Lions clubs; to be disbursed to dozens of charitable organizations of their choosing. According to McKnight, there will be no change to such disbursements next year.

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