That’s the goal of the Canowindra International Balloon Challenge committee, which plans to hold a number of events during the week alongside the competition in the sky in hopes of involving more city dwellers.
Boss and committee member Tommy Jeffs said there will be something for the whole family, with events taking place before the Cabonne Community Balloon Glow on Saturday, May 1.
“We’re trying to get the city involved this time around,” Jeffs said.
“In recent years it’s always the balloonists and then the people who come to see the Balloon Glow, the tourists, which is good but we always want to involve the city dwellers.”
Mr Jeffs said in previous years, locals and visitors alike often visited other surrounding towns, such as Orange, between seeing the balloons in the early morning and attending the Glow.
“You had all these people around and there was nothing for them to do,” he said.
“They took money out of town, they spent it in Orange when they should have spent it in town.”
To resolve these issues, a busy queue is scheduled for Thursday April 29 and Saturday May 1.
Starting at 6 p.m. on Thursday, a free cocktail will take place at Montrose House with the balloonists, while a market night with stalls and fashion shows will take place along Gaskill Street.
“It’s a chance for them to meet the locals and for the locals to meet them as well,” said Jeffs.
“There is also a market night on Thursday so all the shops will be open, the pubs will be open.
“It will just be a good atmosphere.”
Saturday will feature competitions, food, drink, shows, shopping and a parade down Main Street.
“There is a big parade down Main Street, we close Main Street from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm,” Jeffs said.
In addition to the parade, which will feature balloonists and vintage cars, there will be a re-enactment of Ben Hall outside the Royal Hotel, fashion shows, live dance performances, market stalls and live music. .
“Then most of the people will be out in the field around 3 pm and they will have live music,” Mr. Jeffs said.
“Then the Balloon Glow happens and there are a lot of food trailers up there selling all different types of food and drink.
“Then they do an ACDC tribute band at the Canowindra Services Club starting at 8pm.”
Along with the festivities, there will be a cake cooking contest hosted by the craft store, a bicycle decorating contest, a shop window decorating contest for main street businesses, the cutest animal and the prettiest doll.
With nearly 2,000 tickets purchased for Balloon Glow, Mr. Jeffs encouraged locals to join in the events.
“There is a lot to do throughout,” he said.
“[I] Encourage local people to come and support her, make it a day.
“We also have to talk about the city.”