During the third weekend of September each year Ravenna hosts the Balloon A-Fair festival. This favorite multi-day event takes place in the downtown Ravenna area and at the SUNBEAU Valley Farm. This festival was conceived by some enterprising individuals who believed Ravenna should celebrate one of the city's earliest industries, toy balloons manufactured at the Oak Rubber Company. These industrious citizens organized that first celebration and what began as a few small events has swelled into an exciting annual event with something for all age groups.
The general schedule
The beginning of the festivites are marked with the annual Children's Parade held on Thursday evening. This is an exciting time for children, giving them an opportunity to dress-up, make floats, decorate their bikes, and be a part of the opening excitement. Goody bags, prizes, and Ronald McDonald will be on hand to entertain the children. The Mini-Marshal is chosen based upon parade themes school children write relating to the theme of the festival. This lucky child takes part in not only the Children's Parade on their very own float, but they also are in the Saturday morning grand parade.
Friday morning, the Community Kick-Off Breakfast at the Ravenna Elks Club honors businesses and citizens who have made a contribution and given support to the Balloon A-Fair over the years. Reservations are required one week prior to the event to attend.
Saturday, in beautiful downtown Ravenna, a spectacular 90-minute Grand Parade, with more than 125 units, will step off at promptly 9:00 a.m. from the East end of the city and follow the parade route through downtown - rain or shine. Judges provide their selections for the awards. The awards are given to the parade units which best reflects the festival's theme. The awards ceremony will take place on the Courthouse lawn following the parade. Anyone wishing to participate in the parade should call 330-296-FAIR to request an application.
After the Parade, the crowd can visit Craft Booths, Displays and Food Concessions that will line the downtown area. Visitors will also enjoy Live entertainment and activities for children of all ages in 'Children's Alley.'
The festival continues at SUNBEAU Valley Farm located at 3229 St. Rt. 59, one and a half miles from downtown Ravenna. General public entrance is located off of Brady Lake Road. At the farm there will be craft booths, a craft tent, food concession, business displays, children's amusement rides and more.
Weather permitting, aHot Air Balloon Launch will take place at Sun Beau. It is a spectacular sight when multiple hot air balloons lift off. A giant Fireworks Display will take place at dark.
Food and Entertainment will continue on through the evening.
On Sunday, the gates of SUNBEAU Valley Farm will open at 9:00 a.m. Entertainment and attractions will continue throughout the day. At 5:30 p.m., the final Hot Air Balloon Launch will bring the Ravenna Balloon A-Fair to a close.
Any questions can be answered by calling (330) 296-FAIR, or visit the Official Balloon-A-Fair web page at www.ravennaballoonafair.com/