Lift-Off soars in new direction

Lift-Off soars in new direction
Hot air balloons take off in St. Andrews West during Lift-Off.

By Adam Brazeau 
CORNWALL, Ontario – Avid volunteer Terry Muir is the new chair of Cornwall’s popular summer music and hot air balloon festival.

Muir is no stranger to running a huge event or leading large groups of people.

He recently co-chaired the Children’s Christmas Fund, is the founder of Ribfest (although he’s no longer affiliated with the event), leads the Santa Claus Parade Committee as well as being a loyal member of Cornwall’s Kinsmen Club, Optimist Club, and Service Club Council.

“I think Lift Off is very important to the City of Cornwall and I wanted the opportunity to try and bring some stability to the festival, with the right team of people, so that it lives on,” said Muir.

Mary Ann Marleau, 2013 and 2014 co-chair is now vice-chair, and Jason Jesmer, who also co-chaired both years, has stepped down from the board, but will continue to support the festival in an advisory capacity. Coun. Maurice Dupelle is once again in charge of fundraising.

“There are going to be changes – improvements from what I think,” said Muir. “We’ve got a lot of new board members. It’s a smaller board of directors, but I think a very effective group.”

The board drastically cut ticket prices in 2014, offering a full weekend pass for $25.

Muir confirmed new ticket prices will remain affordable, but will most likely be a little bit higher.

“Last year was an exception because it was the 20th anniversary and that was the idea behind the reduced cost of admission,” he said.

Lift-Off held a sold-out Yuk-Yuk’s fundraiser at City Limits in Dec. 2014. Fundraising events and activities garner a lot of lead up buzz, culminating into the popular annual announcement party.

The board recently made a call for volunteers on social media that said there are spots available in all departments. Every year hundreds of selfless individuals donate countless hours to keep Lift-Off in motion.

“I’ve got to give them credit for last year – Jason and Mary worked like dogs with a very limited committee and they really put their heart and soul into it,” said Muir.

The direction and format for entertainment is still being discussed.

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