Summer Heat Air Show

Summer Heat Air Show

Summer Heat was a beloved Muncie festival, which started 1995 as a part of the Great Lakes Regional Balloon Championship, but became a yearly tradition. The festival featured a hot air balloon show, air show, fireworks, music, food, and vendors. Over its tenure, it was located at the Delaware County Regional Airport, the Academy for Model Aeronautics, and Yorktown’s Morrow Meadows. 

One of the main events was the balloon competition, where balloonists navigated their craft, and competed to see who could drop a beanbag closest to a target on the ground. Souvenir pins served as a multi-day pass, and each year featured stunt pilots, aerobatics teams, and skydiving Elvis impersonators, as well as beloved balloons, like Sky Cat, which resembled Garfield, and a Pepsi can shaped balloon. In later years, carnival rides were added to the event lineup

The event was renamed from Summer Heat Balloon Championship to Air Festival in 2001, to better represent the airplane shows, and, after a decade of taking place in August, Summer Heat was moved to June in 2005. While the peak attendance was around 55,000, the average year was significantly lower, and the event began struggling financially, as the event cost over $100,000 to put on every year. 

In 2006, the event had no fireworks, a favorite part of the festival, and lost their Marsh and City of Muncie sponsorships. This was the first year spending more money than was brought in, and they never quite caught up. The summer of 2008 had particularly unfriendly weather, and Friday was almost a total bust, and the Saturday morning balloon launch was canceled. Due to the financial loss directly caused by the weather, the event was indefinitely suspended until more sponsors could be found, but the event was never brought back.  A new event, Fire Up DWNTWN, was conceived to bring back elements of Summer Heat and Ribfest, and is scheduled to be a two day event in 2024. 

Summer heat gallery (photos from lost muncie and the star press)

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