Posted: Jul 17, 2012 4:08 PM by AP
Updated: Jul 17, 2012 4:33 PM
GONZALES, La. (AP) - The Louisiana Ballooning Foundation has canceled the Louisiana Hot Air Balloon Championship and Festival that had been scheduled for the first weekend in August in East Baton Rouge Parish.
The Advocate reports officials in neighboring Ascension Parish say they will hold a festival and balloon race in October, though it won't be affiliated with the Louisiana Ballooning Foundation.
Linda Wunstel, president of the foundation's board, said the East Baton Rouge event was canceled because of funding problems.
"The funding right now just isn't there," she said.
Charlotte Guedry, spokeswoman for the Ascension Festivals and Cultural Council, said the group agreed earlier this year to partner with the Louisiana Ballooning Foundation to put on a festival in Gonzales in conjunction with balloon races in Baton Rouge. The Gonzales festival is set for Oct. 5-6.
The Baton Rouge balloon festival has been held for the past nine years at LSU's Pennington Biomedical Research Center. The Louisiana Ballooning Foundation lost use of that site this year. That led to the agreement with the Ascension group.
Guedry said the Ascension group has received $150,000 in state and parish funding, which is "more than enough" to put on the festival. She also said she had contacted all of the event's sponsors "and everybody is still on board."