Marketing a city is a tall task. Leadership must highlight all the city offers travelers while showing those looking to relocate that they can make a buck and raise a family. So, in 1986, one city conducted an eye-catching publicity stunt.
More specifically, a local charity organized a community effort to shatter a world record and bring national attention to the up-and-coming town. Unfortunately, complications and bad decisions turned the event into a disastrous spectacle…
Organizers of the event—including Treb Heining, a balloon artist, below—hoped so, but they also had greater ambitions for the stunt. They wanted to earn the city of Cleveland much-deserved recognition.
Balloonfest ’86 looked oddly beautiful before the storm rolled in. It’s a shame the spectacle turned into such a tragic event.
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