Hot air balloon rides to give Funfest a lift

Planners of Loretto Funfest have decided to make their community celebration more uplifting this year by adding new attractions such as hot air balloon rides.

Activities will swirl around West River Street and Lions Park in Loretto from 1 p.m. to midnight, Saturday, Sept. 15. Loretto Fun Fest buttons will be needed for all events.

Gonzo the Clown is returning to Loretto Fun Fest Saturday, Sept. 15. Here he entertains youngsters at last year’s event. (File photo by Bill Nord)

Gonzo the Clown is returning to Loretto Fun Fest Saturday, Sept. 15. Here he entertains youngsters at last year’s event. (File photo by Bill Nord)

Advance button purchases will cost $10. Buttons are available at Loretto City Hall, 21st Century Bank, Axel’s Tavern, Dobo’s, the Loretto Post Office, Liquor Depot, Koch’s Korner and Sts. Peter and Paul parish office. On the day of the event buttons will cost $12 or $10 with an item for the Hanover Food Shelf.

In previous years Funfest events took place at the Loretto ball fields on County Road 19. Loretto has moved the celebration to the Railway Street area this year in anticipation of work being done to improve drainage in the Loretto Creek area which is near the ball fields. Now work there is expected to start in October.

Mary Schneider, office assistant at Loretto City Hall, is heading up the Funfest planning committee. She says she is excited about a number of attractions, including the RE/Max hot air balloon visit taking place from 5:45 to 7:45 p.m. The balloon will be tethered, and it will take people age 10 and older 70 feet into the air. However, unfavorable weather could result in cancellation of this activity.

Schneider expressed enthusiasm about the Loretto Market taking place along West Railway Street from 1 to 7 p.m. The committee is putting in extra effort to attract even more vendors this year.

She also is looking forward to performances by local bands. Ancient Drum will start almost continuous live music from 3 to 4 p.m. Local Rhythm will follow from 4:10 to 5:10 p.m., and Prairie Boys will take the stage from 5:15 to 7:45 p.m.

The street dance from 8:30 p.m. to midnight also is on Schneider’s must do list. The Irresistibles Sweet Soul Show at the street dance will feature Nick Sterling.

Much more will happen at Fun Fest. Clues for the medallion hunt will be posted at the Lions Park concession stand beginning at 1 p.m. Kids can play on inflatables and ride the Kiddie Train from 1 to 7 p.m. The rock climbing wall will be available from 2 to 7 p.m. Gonzo the Clown will be on hand from 4 to 7 p.m.

Concessions and food will be offered inside at nearby restaurants. The Loretto Lions will offer quick meals for families outside. And a beer garden will be open on Railway Street from 1 p.m. to midnight.

Fireworks will begin at about 8:10 p.m.

Schneider explained how to get to Funfest. Parking spots will be available in the parking lot on the far west end of West Railway Street. To get there, motorists will want to take Lorenz, St. Peter and St. Johns Streets around Lions Park. Railway Street will be closed from just east of the parking lot to just beyond the Bistro restaurant.

Parking also will be available in the parking lot just behind Sts. Peter and Paul Church. Motorists should go east on East Railway Street to get there. Parking lots will be open at the Bistro and at the Choo Choo Grill and Bar.

People who are willing to walk a ways can park at the ball fields on County Road 19. However, no shuttles will be on hand to transport people to Funfest.

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