Early attendance numbers for Ascension Hot Air Balloon Festival soar over last year's

Early attendance numbers for Ascension Hot Air Balloon Festival soar over last year's

ASCENSION PARISH, LA (WAFB) - Early numbers say the 2015 Ascension Hot Air Balloon Festival drew 54,000 people to the Gonzales Lamar-Dixon Expo Center this past weekend. Festival organizers say that is 4,000 more than last year.

"Plus, when you take into account all of the volunteers, balloon teams and their families, vendors, law enforcement, first responders and others, we had a lot of people on the grounds of Lamar-Dixon Expo Center and one begins to think 54,000 may be low," said Festival committee chairman Martin McConnell. "The success of this year's festival assures that it will continue in the upcoming years, showing that it can stand on its own without any government assistance."

McConnell said this year the two-day event was possible through the support from L'Auberge Casino and other corporate sponsors.

The Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office, the Gonzales Police Department, the fire departments, first responders and the State Police were thanked for their help as well as Volunteer Ascension, Tour Ascension and the volunteers.

"Again we were blessed with good weather and a steady flow of people wanting to enjoy a family friendly festival," said Ascension Parish President Tommy Martinez. "And it was truly a family event because you could easily see the children far outnumbered the adults."

Copyright 2015 WAFB. All rights reserved.