Organizers made changes to help alleviate parking issues at the hot air balloon festival in Plainville later this month.
“It’s always crazy because everybody and their mother comes here,” Irene Avella, of Plainville, said.
Avella is talking about the annual hot air balloon festival that starts on Aug. 26. The free event features fireworks along with hot air balloons.
However, the event was so popular last year that there was parking issues. Festival spokesman Bob O'Dea, who is a retired assistant fire chief, said it was “so highly successful that it proved to be more congestion or unsafe than we would like to feel.”
One man living near Norton Park said driveways were blocked and he wrote to the town urging them to make changes.
Organizers listened and on day one of this year’s festival, spectators must park at the high school, general electric lot or two other off site lots and be taken in by shuttle.
“People can go to the park on Saturday morning and Sunday morning to watch the balloon launches,” O'Dea said.
From 5:30 a.m. until 9 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday, parking will be allowed at the Norton Park for the balloon launches.
Shuttle buses will begin on Friday at 4:30 p.m. and will run until 11 p.m. On Saturday, shuttle buses will begin at 10 a.m. and run until 10 p.m. People that are event staff, handicapped or on a motorcycle can use Norton Park’s lots.
"We would request that anyone attending the Plainville Hot Air Balloon Festival that is planning to park on town roads to remember to be safe and neighborly. Don’t block driveways, be mindful of fire hydrants and obey local speed limits," festival organizers posted on their event Facebook page.
Plainville residents reacted to the parking changes.
“It's great,” Joe Moreno, of Plainville, said. “It's great there's going to be less traffic.”
“I’m not a big fan of it because they are controlling my time,” Carol Fitzsimons, of Plainville, said.
“As long as they run efficiently, so you can get in and out when you want to I think it's a wonderful idea,” Wendy Irving, of Plainville, said.
Plainville fire’s hot air balloon festival runs from Aug. 26 through Aug. 28.
For more information on the festival, click here.
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