Balloonapalooza Brings Downtown New Audience

Simon Protopapas, owner of Simon's Prime Hamburgers, stands out front of his bruger joint in downtown Windsor on Ouellette Ave. on August 16, 2014. (Photo by Ricardo Veneza)

A funding cut to the Downtown Windsor Business Improvement Association almost deflated Balloonapalooza 2014, but acting chair of the DWBIA is calling the event a huge success while businesses seem more interested in the different crowd the festival attracts.

Debi Croucher says businesses enjoyed the extra foot traffic downtown.

“They’ve been busy,” says Croucher. “The festival attracts folks of all ages, so that’s pretty exciting and it really brings a different audience into the downtown.”

“Let’s hope we do this every year and we find other activities that bring different crowds down here,” says Imad Mohammad, manager at BB Branded Boutique in downtown Windsor, noting the shop sees a slight increase in sales during Balloonapalooza. “We are seeing new faces. It’s sad that Red Bull [Air Races] kind of went away. That brought in a lot of money for us and that went away, that hurt us bad, so let’s hope this doesn’t go away as well.”

Simon Protopapas of Simon’s Prime Hamburgers on Ouellette Ave. in Windsor says they don’t see a huge jump in sales, but the biggest benefit of the festival is attracting a different audience downtown.

“We’re actually opening up another location on Central Ave. in Tecumseh which is obviously not downtown and that could be a benefit for us too, as far as you know they’ve seen us here and a lot of the traffic flow in Windsor does flow through that area,” says┬áProtopapas.

Croucher with the DWBIA points to an economic analysis of last year’s festival which showed roughly 40,000 people attended the event, generating about $1.2-million in economic benefit for the region. She thinks attendance was about on par with last year’s event and expects another economic impact report in September.

Imad Mohammad, manager at BB Branded Boutique in downtown Windsor on Ouellette Ave. is seen in his store on August 16, 2014. (Photo by Ricardo Veneza)

Imad Mohammad, manager at BB Branded Boutique in downtown Windsor on Ouellette Ave. is seen in his store on August 16, 2014. (Photo by Ricardo Veneza)

The 2014 edition of Balloonapalooza in downtown Windsor running August 16-17. Photo taken August 16, 2014. (Photo by Ricardo Veneza)

The 2014 edition of Balloonapalooza in downtown Windsor running August 16-17. Photo taken August 16, 2014. (Photo by Ricardo Veneza)