Rhode Island hot air balloon festival ends after 40 years

It was hosted by the Wakefield Rotary Club.

South County Balloon Festival
Rhode Island's South County Balloon Festival. –heartlover1717 / flickr

SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (AP) — A Rhode Island hot air balloon festival is coming to an end after 40 years because it has become too expensive to run and has nowhere to stage.

Organizers said Wednesday that last year’s South County Balloon Festival was the last.

Wakefield Rotary Club President-elect, Bob Cruz, tells WJAR-TV the expense to put on the popular summer event began to “rise out of control.”

The club has for years used the athletic fields at the University of Rhode Island to stage the festival and get the balloons in the air.

Current club President Tom Tarzwell tells The Providence Journal that URI informed them last year that that would no longer be possible. He said the club has not been able to find another suitable site.