Crowds gather at Norton for annual balloon fest

By TAYLOR

MURCHISON-

GALLAGHER

STAFF WRITER

The Plainville Fire Company Hot Air Balloon Festival was held Friday to Sunday, Aug. 24 to 26, at Norton Park, and people came from all over to enjoy live music, and watch as several hot air balloons lifted riders into the evening sky.

There were many vendor booths showcasing fundraising efforts, activities for children, and artists selling their wares.

Also present were local legislatures, who were promoting themselves and the upcoming state election, to be held in November.

Chair of the Plainville Town Council, Kathy Pugliese, said she’s been a part of the Plainville Balloon Festival since it began, approximately 30 years ago.

“It’s the largest event that we put on all year, actually, the Fire Department coordinates this entire thing, it’s an enormous amount of work. It’s great to bring people into Plainville, and maybe people that would have never stopped by are going to come here and watch the balloons, buy some food, and get a hot dog from our local firemen,” said Pugliese. “Perfect weather, perfect weekend, so it’ll be a lot of fun for a lot of people.”

Pugliese also said that it’s fun to “watch it [the festival] get bigger and bigger,” and that she was told by one of the coordinators that this year saw the “largest number of vendors.”

Pugliese attended as a part of the Plainville Republican Town Committee. State Representative Dr. Bill Petit (R-22) was also a part of the PRTC booth, and said, “we’re out here talking to people who want to talk about issues,” and that the RTC was providing “information from some of the national and state candidates, as well as local candidates.”

“It [the festival] mostly means fun… and the Fire Company’s been doing this for 30 years. It’s a fabulous community event, the vendors have grown like crazy, I’m expecting they’ll see a crowd between 20 and 30,000 people,” said Petit. “Getting the whole community together, [to] see the balloons… [and] the fireworks is fabulous.”

Rebecca Martinez, chair of the Plainville Democratic Town Committee, was also present, as the PDTC encouraged attendees to register to vote, and to exercise their right to vote in the November election.

“Today we’re here to really try to get voters out and to remind them that it’s a really important election year,” said Martinez, “so we have some “get out the vote” initiatives, we’re here for the get out the vote, and to just promote our candidates.”

Martinez said that “Plainville is a close knit community,” and that the town Democrats “love doing community things.”

“We have people come from all over the state, so it’s nice to meet all sorts of people, and we get to meet Democrats from everywhere, so it’s great,” said Martinez. “I love being here, this year, I think it’s just imperative that we get out the vote, so, that’s my biggest initiative, to just remind people to get out to the polls and vote in November.”

Comments? Email tmurchison@BristolObserver.com.