Great Smoky Mountains Hot Air Balloon Festival in Townsend canceled due to coronavirus concerns

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TOWNSEND, Tenn. (WATE) – The popular Great Smoky Mountains Hot Air Balloon Festival has been canceled for this year, organizers announced Tuesday.

“The Townsend Cades Cove Gateway Alliance, Blount Partnership, and associated leadership and staff have made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 Festival,” Mark Oldham, co-chair of the Gateway Alliance, said in a statement.

“The safety of our team, volunteers, patrons, balloonists, vendors, and entertainers is of
utmost concern, and based on information gathered, we do not believe we can safely gather
our 5000+ crowd in August,” Oldham said. “At this time we have determined that the potential liabilities far outweigh the positive outcomes.

“So much planning and commitment goes into a festival of our size and the goal of making a
decision today is to mitigate the growing challenges of planning the logistics required to
successfully execute the festival in a safe manner as set out by the Tennessee Pledge and
Governor Lee.”

Those who had already purchased tickets to the August festival will get an email about options.

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