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Photographs of 1.5 million balloons unleashed in Cleveland

Photographs of 1.5 million balloons unleashed in Cleveland

A multicoloured revelation from 1986


Video: YouTube
Image: Huh Magazine

Back in 1986, the state of Ohio decided to release 1.5 million helium-filled balloons into the sky, all in the name of charity

Known as Balloonfest '86, the vibrant Cleveland event was a fundraising effort organised by the United Way and set the world record for the biggest simultaneous balloon launch.

On the day, thousands of volunteers worked day and night to fill up the biodegradable balloons, keeping them in one colossal net in the central Public Square.

However, despite the beautiful fairytale-like vision, the release caused a variety of problems. The balloons got caught up in a storm and fell back to the ground, causing an 'asteroid field' effect which disrupted the Coast Guard rescuing a pair of fishermen, leading to the local airport temporarily closing. 

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