COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Big Bear Stores will again sponsor its second balloon festival, June 22 to 24, in Grove City, a suburb here. It hopes to top last year's attendance of 75,000 to 80,000 people.
The three-day festival combines big family fun, commitment to community and brand awareness. The festival, which the West Caldwell, N.J.-based Balloon Festival Group produces, attracts families who come to see hot air balloons bearing the names and images of well-known brands, such as the Energizer Bunny, Tony the Tiger, as well as the Big Bear grizzly.
In preparation, all 60 Big Bear stores in Ohio and 10 in West Virginia will participateby selling tickets, placing ads in weekly circulars, and promoting the event on local radio and television stations. Employees also volunteer to participate in the event. Tie-in sponsors also get space for special displays that advertise the event in Big Bear stores.
According to Les Knox, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of Penn Traffic, Syracuse, N.Y., the parent company of Big Bear, the festivals "appeal to the family demographic, which fits into the normal demographic that supermarkets want to have in their stores, and it helps vendors and manufacturers to showcase their products." He also emphasized that the event fulfills Big Bear's desire to be involved in the communities they serve, which is reflected in the inexpensive admission price and the various family-oriented activities that take place.
Tickets purchased in advance are priced at $11 for adults and $6 for children, ages 4 to 12.
The festival caters to the 12-and-under crowd as well as parents with activities such as face-painting, arts & crafts, and concerts featuring celebrities. Last year, Clint Black, the Beach Boys and the Village People were the musical headline attractions for the event.
John Korff, president of the Balloon Festival Group, said Big Bear was "looking to do a family event -- something their name could be on and appeal to shoppers." The packaged goods companies who sponsored the nearly 70 balloons are seeking opportunities in which to increase their brand awareness and appeal to the shopper base.