Friday fun: Balloon rides over Carmel

June 21, 2013
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Marching bands, fried Snickers and balloon rides are on tap for the 25th annual CarmelFest, a July tradition that draws an estimated 50,000 celebrants downtown.

“It’s a big deal,” said Jeff Worrell, who chairs the volunteer committee that organizes what he called the largest single event in Carmel.

The festivities kick off the afternoon of July 3 and continue through a no-holds-barred fireworks show on Independence Day.

New this year: $5 rides in one of Re/Max Real Estate’s fleet of hot-air balloons, which will be tethered in the so-called “North Zone” in Carmel’s Civic Square on opening day. The 40-foot-high zenith should provide a decent view of nearby City Center and other recent development.

Other highlights include a July 4 parade—with enough goodies tossed at the crowd to qualify as a “mini Mardi Gras,” Worrell said—entertainment on four stages and “every kind of fried food you can imagine.”

Worrell said parade-goers stake out their favorite vantage point as much as two days early, marking their territory with chairs and blankets that stay curbside (undisturbed) until the big event.

This year’s grand marshals are former Mayor Dottie Hancock and ex-Chamber of Commerce chief Nancy Blondin, who started CarmelFest 25 years ago.

The event’s $200,000-plus budget is covered mostly by sponsorships (Rotary Club of Carmel is the presenting sponsor) and vendor fees, but organizers also sell so-called “spark” buttons to raise additional funds.

“It’s important that individuals have the opportunity to support their own festival,” said Worrell, who introduced the community fundraising effort in 1994.

The committee hopes to sell 3,500 buttons this year. Prices are $3 for a simple pin and $6 for a lighted one.

CarmelFest veterans, help us newbies out: What is your favorite part of the celebration?


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  1. Of what value is selling alcoholic beverages to State Fair patrons when there are many families with children attending. Is this the message we want to give children attending and participating in the Fair, another venue with alooholic consumption onsite. Is this to promote beer and wine production in the state which are great for the breweries and wineries, but where does this end up 10-15 years from now, lots more drinkers for the alcoholic contents. If these drinks are so important, why not remove the alcohol content and the flavor and drink itself similar to soft drinks would be the novelty, not the alcoholic content and its affects on the drinker. There is no social or material benefit from drinking alcoholic beverages, mostly people want to get slightly or highly drunk.

  2. I did;nt know anyone in Indiana could count- WHY did they NOT SAY just HOW this would be enforced? Because it WON;T! NOW- with that said- BIG BROTHER is ALIVE in this Article-why take any comment if it won't appease YOU PEOPLE- that's NOT American- with EVERYTHING you indicated is NOT said-I can see WHY it say's o Comments- YOU are COMMIES- BIG BROTHER and most likely- voted for Obama!

  3. In Europe there are schools for hairdressing but you don't get a license afterwards but you are required to assist in turkey and Italy its 7 years in japan it's 10 years England 2 so these people who assist know how to do hair their not just anybody and if your an owner and you hire someone with no experience then ur an idiot I've known stylist from different countries with no license but they are professional clean and safe they have no license but they have experience a license doesn't mean anything look at all the bad hairdressers in the world that have fried peoples hair okay but they have a license doesn't make them a professional at their job I think they should get rid of it because stateboard robs stylist and owners and they fine you for the dumbest f***ing things oh ur license isn't displayed 100$ oh ur wearing open toe shoes fine, oh there's ONE HAIR IN UR BRUSH that's a fine it's like really? So I think they need to go or ease up on their regulations because their too strict

  4. Exciting times in Carmel.

  5. Twenty years ago when we moved to Indy I was a stay at home mom and knew not very many people.WIBC was my family and friends for the most part. It was informative, civil, and humerous with Dave the KING. Terri, Jeff, Stever, Big Joe, Matt, Pat and Crumie. I loved them all, and they seemed to love each other. I didn't mind Greg Garrison, but I was not a Rush fan. NOW I can't stand Chicks and all their giggly opinions. Tony Katz is to abrasive that early in the morning(or really any time). I will tune in on Saturday morning for the usual fun and priceless information from Pat and Crumie, mornings it will be 90.1