National Balloon Rally Charities, Inc. is pleased to announce that Bud Welch has accepted the position of Executive Director of the Carolina BalloonFest, effective August 1. Welch has served as Interim Director of the entity since February of this year. Welch is also the Publisher of Statesville Free News.
“Bud has a deep rooted understanding of what it takes to make the event successful,” Kory Massey, Event Chair, said. “His passion for our community shows in the activities he involves himself with and his energy makes him a strong leader for our organization.”
Welch has been an active volunteer of the festival for more than 10 years. With hands-on experience, Welch has led by example, serving as an active committee and board member while performing various tasks to ready the field for the festival each year.
Welch also served as Chairman of the Board during the 40th annual Carolina BalloonFest in 2013.
“This festival has seen its best and worst times, but through it all, it’s gotten into my heart and soul,” Welch said of his experience. “The balloons are great; but over the years, I’ve learned to not so much as watch the balloons as I have the people. That’s the ‘wow moment’. To see what this festival does for the people.”
With recent changes coming to the Statesville Regional Airport, Welch has plans to move the Carolina Balloonfest to its own, permanent location.
“I want to build an infrastructure,” Welch said as he envisions an event center with a permanent stage, bathrooms, electricity, and more.
Welch has also set his own personal goal, to raise more money than ever before to give away during National Balloon Rally Charities’ Annual Volunteer and Sponsor Celebration. Last year, the charity gave away over $100,000 in donations.
“That’s what it is all about,” Welch said. “When you can give $100,000 plus back into the community, that’s our wow moment.”
Carolina BalloonFest will be held this year on Oct. 20, 21, and 22.
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