What is the1986 Cleveland Balloon Fest?

Modified on Fri, 19 Mar, 2021 at 3:29 PM

The 1986 Cleveland Balloon Fest organized by the United Way, who released 1.5 million helium-filled balloons in hopes to make it in the Guinness Book of Records. Instead, the balloon release caused several accidents and injuries.

  • An airport runway also had to be shut down because of balloons landing on the runway.
  • A storm hit the city of Cleveland shortly after the balloon release causing most balloons to land into Lake Erie.
  • In the midst of the storm, two fishermen went missing and the inflated balloons sitting on the water made it impossible for coast guards to differentiate between balloons and the fisherman. The wife of one of the fishermen sued United Way for obstructing the search for her husband. 
  • A horse owner also sued the United Way of Cleveland for frightening her horse which caused injury to the animal. 
  • The balloons were later spotted in Canada's water.
  • The Guinness Book of Records did not recognize the event and Cleveland did not break any records.

Watch this short video on the Cleveland Balloon Fest 1986

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