Thurston Balloons Prepare to Lift Off - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather, Events

Thurston Balloons Prepare to Lift Off

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The 26th annual Thurston Balloon Classic begins tomorrow night in Meadville. More than two dozen hot air balloons from several states are registered for the four day event.
 Organizers estimate about 35,000 people will attend the event, many coming from out-of-town.
 The estimated  economic impact to hotels, restaurants, and other businesses is nearly $4 million.
Many of the same balloon crews return to Meadville every year.
 Longtime organizer Ted Watts said, "I think the balloonists come here because they are so welcomed by the community. Everybody loves the balloonists and they are very well received. And the other thing is the terrain is interesting and challenging for the balloonists."
The balloons are launched from the Allegheny College Robertson Athletic complex.
 Admission and parking are free, thanks to sponsors and donations.
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