The Scotts Bluff County Commissioners Monday night considered a request from the Old West Balloon Fest to help cover the cost of parking passes for this year’s event.
Hunter Kosman says the committee is considering making this year’s event free of charge due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impacts.
“With everything that’s gone in in the Valley and everywhere else, we thought if there was a possibility of getting this to be a free event it would be an uplifting and nice thing for the community,” said Kosman. “Not only just for the local people but also for visitors coming from other areas.”
Kosman says they have budgeted $35,000 for event pass sales this year, and hopes that KENO funds from Scotts Bluff County, Gering, Mitchell and Scottsbluff could be allocated to cover those costs, and in turn make the event free for the public.
Board Chair Ken Meyer supported the request, noting that it’s a huge boost to our local economy.
“It’s a good event and tens of thousands of people that this event will bring to our area,” said Meyer. “And we’ll keep our fingers crossed that this mess is going to be gone by then and not affected by COVID-19 stuff that’s going on, that it’s going to come off, and we’ll go back to some kind of normal.”
Meyer said the Commissioners will look at the $10,000 request for Scotts Bluff County’s share, and readdress the request during the May 18th board meeting.