Lift-Off Festival Soars High Over Cornwall

By Bob Peters
July 16, 2012

Kinsmen Cornwall Lift-Off 2012Cornwall's downtown waterfront park is returning to normal following a Lift-Off festival that drew tens of thousands of people to Lamoureux Park over the course of four days.

The summertime festival has become Cornwall's signature event, and this year featured a wide mix of activities ranging from hot-air balloon rides to open-air concerts.

“Speaking on behalf of the Board (of Directors), we are all very happy with the response of the festival goers,” said Michael Galvin, Director of Media Relations for Kinsmen Cornwall Lift-Off 2012. “The weather was perfect and all of the scheduled balloon flights left the Computer Sense Launch Field on time and flew right over the City!”

Thanks to picture perfect weather, this year's festival off was the first year that the balloon launches had a perfect 6 for 6 launch record from Lamoureux Park. The event attracted 26 pilots and their balloons.

"Lift-Off is one of my favorite events," said balloon pilot Dar Farzad who had travelled up from Binghamton New York for the festival. "I can not express my gratitude enough to your entire city for the kindness I receive every year. I'm already counting down the days to Lift-0ff 2013."

Event organizers are also pleased with the turnout for the evening concerts in the park. Friday night and Saturday both drew huge crowds for Burton Cummings and Marianas Trench respectively. Other featured acts included Big Wreck, Sloan, Suzie McNeil and New Cities. Mr. Galvin said he had heard from people who travelled from as far as New Brunswick and Toronto to take in some of the festivities.

Burton Cummings turned back time with a 2 hour set that showcased a strong and seemingly ageless voice. The legendary singer expressed an "attitude of gratitude" for being invited to the festival. The following evening thousands of young people came early and partied late with up-and-coming rockers Marianas Trench.

"The atmosphere in the park Saturday night was surreal," said Sue Stewart of Variety 104.5 who introduced Marianas Trench by launching the crowd into an impromptu rendition of Happy Birthday for drummer Ian Casselman. "Fans had been camped out all day to see their heroes, and the band rewarded them with a fantastic show."

Throughout the week, the festival also gave some stage time to local acts such as The Shiners, SwitchGear, Playing with Diana and Elly May.

"We enjoyed every second leading up to the show," said Jamie Jarvo of SwitchGear. "Playing on the stage was fantastic and the crowd made us feel so great. Its a moment I will never forget!"

The festival included a number of different events and activities, most of which were completely free. These included a DockDogs canine competition, fireworks, car show, midway and family fun zone.

"Kudos to the hundreds of volunteers and pilots for another successful edition of Kinsmen Cornwall Lift-Off," said Mary Ann Marleau, who along with Jason Jesmer co-chaired a Festival volunteer board. "What an amazing weekend of perfect flights over the City. We hope everyone had a chance to enjoy a piece of the festival - regardless if you were in the park, or sitting on your back deck watching the balloons overhead."

"We must also recognize and thank all of the sponsors of Lift-Off, who without their support, the event would simply not happen", added Jason Jesmer.

“Cornwall should be very proud of the jobs everyone did as host to our out of town visitors,” added Mr. Galvin. “Every visitor I spoke to had a story about how well they were treated. From the bands that went golfing to the balloon pilots that were invited by a local cycling group to go on a 60-kilometre bike ride along the St. Lawrence, everyone pitched in to be good hosts and ambassadors for our City!”

The festival has also exploded on social media, with local residents, balloon pilots, musicians and visitors alike all sharing stories and photos on Facebook and Twitter.

About Cornwall Lift-Off

Cornwall Lift-Off was founded in 1994 and has since hosted back-to-back Canadian National Hot Air Balloon Championships in 1996 and 1997. The success of the festival has grown considerably since its modest beginnings in 1994. Each year, the festival welcomes approximately 25 hot-air balloon teams, the Homenuik Rides carnival, a spectacular fireworks display, Family Zone, and great local and international musical entertainment. Past entertainers have included Dennis DeYoung of Styx, Tom Cochrane, Colin James, Amanda Marshall, Theory of a Deadman, Finger Eleven, Collective Soul, Loverboy, Trooper, Kim Mitchell, April Wine, Our Lady Peace and Chantal Kreviazuk.

Category: Arts and Entertainment