How It Started With Temecula’s Festival

The Temecula Valley Chamber of Commerce had initialized these lists of festivities way back when it started during 1983. The proprietor of the balloon festival was a certain Mr. Walt Darren, a commercial airline pilot who had a side hobby of being a hot air balloonist. He was the first to propose the idea of having hot air balloons race through the countryside as part of an effort to bolster the tourism in the area.

Vicky Taylor, president of the Chamber of Commerce had asked veteran Evelyn Harker, the event organizer to raise funds for this idea (of which she might have thought of it to be a pretty good idea in itself.) Evelyn had the idea that the whole thing might pull off much more successfully if the other attractions that could be found in the local area were pulled in as a culmination of all the good things that can be found inside Temecula Valley. Products like wines, cheeses, the entertainment and basically, the whole cuisine of Temecula itself.

The idea was passed on, and more of the people around, as well as several establishments and organizations pitched their support in to try and bolster the event upwards. Funds came in steadily from different areas of the valley, not to mention these were limited to not only finance, but also through volunteer work and free advertising of the event.

The first of the full events were started during the early spring of 1984. With the small towns population of only nine thousand, it was a drastic and daring step to bolster their stagnant economy, as well as a big gamble on their part. The gamble worked and at least four thousand five hundred visitors had actually visited the site on their first day of the festival.

Thirty five balloons that carried the dreams and aspirations of the locals sped through the lonely skies painted orange by the setting sun. They flew like the birds wishing for home, and like birds that had found their true nature and calling. This was the mystique of the festival that drew more people together.

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