Spyglass Ridge Winery celebrates legal win with annual balloon festival


ROCKEFELLER TOWNSHIP, NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A local hot air balloon festival is soaring this weekend after it was nearly grounded. The business owner behind the event was told by elected officials he was violating an ordinance.

The radiant glow of nearly ten hot air balloons illuminated the night sky in Rockefeller Township.

“This is amazing! I never saw anything like this before,” said April Rusnak from Millersburg.

The dreamy experience is part of Spyglass Ridge Winery’s annual hot air balloon and concert festival. But for owner Tom Webb and his wife, the days and even hours leading up to this year’s event were reminiscent of a nightmare.

“We came this close to being shut down by Rockefeller Township literally over nothing, over nonsense. And today, we won our day in court and got a partial injunction so that the event can go on,” explained Webb.

Last month, Webb got a letter from township supervisors saying the festival would be shut down for violating the township’s agricultural ordinance.

But a Northumberland County judge decided the show could go on. Opening night also meant thousands enjoyed an electrifying performance by “The Billy Joel Experience Tribute Band.”

“We saw the hot air balloon thing, and we thought okay, but then when we saw “the Billy Joel Experience” was here, we were like, we’re sold,” said Rusnak.

The three-day festival also includes local vendors and of course, hot air balloon rides. All to raise money for local non-profits.

Webb credits a community that rallied around him and allowing this event to lift off, “I just want to say thank you for all of your support. And I want to thank all the people out there that showed their love to spyglass ridge winery and helped us get through this.”

Spyglass Ridge Winery’s hot air balloon festival continues throughout the weekend. Head over to their website for tickets and information.

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