NSB Balloon & Sky Fest News

The City of New Smyrna Beach: A Very Important Partner

At a recent City Commission meeting, the City of New Smyrna Beach agreed to again be a sponsor of the Balloon & Sky Fest, providing Police, Fire, maintenance, and airport personnel .

"We absolutely could not do this without all the support provided by the City," said David Burt, Vice-Chairman of the Fest Organizing Committee. "The City Commission and staff have recognized how important a successful Balloon & Sky Fest is to this area."

Expected to again draw 40,000 or more people to the event, the Fest is recognized as having a huge economic impact on this area each year.

"The economic impact is measured in the many millions of dollars each year," Burt noted, citing survey results revealing that 41% of this event's visitors come from outside of Volusia County each year. "The hotels and restaurants and campgrounds and shops all fill up."

The SEVENTH annual New Smyrna Beach Balloon & Sky Fest is set for April 17-19, 2015.

"Keep your eyes and ears open, folks," Burt said with a smile. "This one will be bigger and better than ever!"


In other news, outgoing NSB Mayor Adam Barringer was presented with "The Mayor's Trophy" at a recent City Commission meeting as a way of thanking and honoring him for the vital role he has played in recent years to help make Balloon & Sky Fest a success. (See photo, courtesy of Renee Richards)

Balloon & Sky Fest Celebrates the Life of Lt. Col. Hiram Mann

It is with reminiscent joy but acute sadness that the New Smyrna Beach Balloon & Sky Fest reports the passing of Tuskegee Airman "Red Tail" pilot Lt. Col. Hiram Mann. Lt. Col. Mann died while under hospice care in his adopted hometown of Titusville on May 17, just days shy of his 93rd birthday.

He was a veteran of 48 combat missions, flying the legendary "Red Tail" P-51D Mustang as he and the 332nd Fighter Group protected the American bombers, rising above the Jim Crow laws and racial prejudice to attain elite fighter pilot status. He remained in military service to our nation until his retirement in 1972, and he inspired thousands of Americans in the years that followed.

Balloon & Sky Fest honors and recognizes all veterans during the annual event, with special displays, honor ceremonies, warbird fly-bys, and other activities. Lt. Col. Mann attended our event twice.

His first time here was in 2012, when he was our special guest and honoree. We asked the U.S. Army Golden Knights to present Lt. Col. Mann with a specially engraved, personalized, mahogany baton as they landed in front of the afternoon air show crowd. Everyone was quite moved as he somehow mustered the strength to arise from his wheelchair, moved slowly along the line of smartly positioned Golden Knights, and saluted and thanked each one. (See photos)

Lt. Col. Mann also attended Balloon & Sky Fest in 2013, spending time with our visitors in the VIP Flightline Tent, and interacting with and inspiring hundreds of attendees at the traveling Tuskegee Airmen Red Tail Squadron exhibit.

He will be missed.

Lt. Col. Hiram Mann: "Gone West"

Thank you, Sir.


Event photos courtesy of Don Bok.
Family photos courtesy of the Mann family.


The 2015 Balloon & Sky Fest is set for April 17-19 at the New Smyrna Beach Airport.