Rotary Club sponsors annual SC Hot Air Balloon Festival

SOUTH KINGSTOWN—Hot air balloons will be on bright display this weekend, as families flock to the University of Rhode Island for the Wakefield Rotary Club’s biggest annual fundraiser.
Founded in 1957 as part of Rotary International, the Wakefield Rotary Club held its first balloon festival 39 years ago in an effort to raise funds to help South County residents in need of assistance.
Seitz attended the Rotary’s balloon festival for the first time 25 years ago.
“You had the balloons, you had the crafters and five or six food vendors—that was it,” he added.
The club’s other motto, Seitz added, is “improving and saving lives.” “We’re trying to do things that will make a difference in people’s lives,” he said.
“It really goes to three places,” Seitz explained.
“Scholarships to local students, grants to local charities—such as Habitat for Humanity, Domestic Violence Resource Center, Galilee Mission, Welcome House—and then we take $10,000 a year and use that in international projects.” The Rotary’s global network makes it easy and safe to donate internationally, he added.
He explained that it costs about $50 to supply clean drinking water for a year to a family in Cambodia.
“We have our own people on the ground,” Seitz said, “so we get a lot of value for the dollar.” “With these water filters disease and childhood deaths [are reduced], kids are healthy and able to go to school, get educations,” he continued, “it makes a huge difference.” All the work for the festival is done by volunteers.
“Perfect weather is 70 degrees and no wind.

Learn More