Festival strengthens local community


FLYING HIGH: Four hot air balloons were stationed at the festival offering rides ranging from three to five minutes long. The hot air balloons came from a multitude of companies such as SkyScapes, whose representative has been in the balloon business for 30 years. Whether the balloons could fly or not was completely up to the weather and the intensity of the winds. Photo by Giselle Oldani ’22.

Businesses lined the grass ranging from specialty waters to horse shelters. The sky was clear and blue with barely any wind, which meant it was a perfect forecast for the hot air balloons to take flight. Decorated in the colors of the rainbow, the balloons bounced up into the sky and gently fell back down, taking attendees on rides every few minutes. Next came the array of horses that galloped at the command of their rider. With wooden mallets in hand, the polo match began, watched by rows of eyes behind the white picket fence. 

The Victory Cup Polo Match and Hot Air Balloon Festival were hosted at the Hunt Club in Westport on Sept. 28. The festival helped to strengthen the ties of the community and serve as an opportunity for businesses to spread awareness about their cause, all in an exciting and entertaining fashion. 

 “It’s events like these that provide a place for members of the community to get to know each other and bond over a fun experience,” Nick Seitz ’22 said.  

It’s events like these that provide a place for members of the community to get to know each other and bond over a fun experience.

— Nick Seitz '22

With mini-horse races on inflatable toys and a bouncy house, children were kept entertained throughout the day. Trucks and bars served drinks and plenty of seating was available. A selection of music played through the various speakers located around the grounds. There were also contests such as one for the best dressed, since it is traditional to come to polo matches in a fancier style. As for businesses, many people were attracted to the small stands of each organization, filled with their products or diagrams and graphics explaining their mission. 

“No matter where you are, even in Fairfield country, there are people who are still in need,” Erin Mcdonough, an employee of the shelter Open Doors, said. “Everybody has the talent and the ability to do something to help make someone’s life better.” 

Open Doors is a homeless shelter that provides necessities such as clothing, food and transitional plans for those in need. 

“We try to be involved in as many community events as possible,” Mcdonough said, “and so we were really excited to be here today and Westports so close; it felt like a good match.”

Another business that thrived during the event was Black Bridge Motors, a company that restores vintage cars. 

“[Black Bridge Motors] wants to provide for a lot of the same types of interesting people that go out and want to go watch a polo match,” the owner of Black Bridge Motors, Sam Gilbert, said, “so they can end up finding unique ways to express themselves with their cars.” 

The company brought two older cars to showcase at the festival and attendees were allowed to take pictures and even get inside the vehicles. 

  Both of these small businesses claim a major contribution to their success is reaching out to the community and events like these provide a comfortable place to do that. Additionally, attendees say many friendships were formed during the process. 

 “It’ll be a good day looking at the balloons and watching the races surrounded by people who want to do the same thing,” Debbie Korologos, an attendee, said. “It’s enjoyable and relaxing. It’s just fun.”