But to call it “our” balloon isn’t entirely accurate. Maybe you’ve seen our colorful balloon soaring through the sky and thought to yourself, “Dang, those LACU employees sure are lucky to be able to ride in that gem whenever they want!” Not to take the hot air out of your balloon, but *sigh* we don’t get to ride in it. But wouldn’t that be the coolest way to arrive to work???
Here’s the real scoop:
Linn Area Credit Union basically rents space on the side of the balloon for our logo. The hot air balloon itself is actually owned and operated by Kevin Kamp of Balloon Travels, along with his father-in-law. They treat the hot air balloon as a for-profit hobby and they charge for rides. Linn Area Credit Union employees would have to pay $400 for a one hour ride just like any other passenger. Our executives have never been up in that sucker and, believe me, have no clue how to fly it.
As part of our contract with Balloon Travels, Linn Area Credit Union is allotted 5 rides a year to use at community events and give to charities. We use one of those rides each year at Balloon Glow, a Freedom Festival event we sponsor. (Go here to see pics from last year’s event!) Balloon Glow attracts between 13,000 and 14,000 community members each year for an evening of watching staked out hot air balloons, free kids activities, and a free live band on the lawn at Brucemore. (It’s actually on Tuesday, June 25th this year featuring Lonesome Road – click here for all the info!) We feel it is good advertising to have that many people aware that Linn Area Credit Union is sponsoring this wholesome family event and to have them looking at our logo for hours.
We also donate a hot air balloon glow each year during the Tanager Place “Summer Fest” fundraiser, which is a free event for kids in our community and raises money for children who are helped by Tanager Place’s services. Over the years we’ve also donated rides as a silent auction items for charities such as Big Brothers/Big Sisters and the American Cancer Society, and to area schools for their fundraisers. We promise that the hot air balloon being used for all good things and that our investment in it is limited to much less than the cost of running a billboard.
Tell us in the comments below: If you had the chance, would you want to ride in hot air balloon??? Have you ever riden in a hot air balloon? We want to hear your experience!