Worlds of Fun got its own hot air balloon this summer, thanks to Kansas City AeroSports, a downtown Overland Park balloon marketing business.
The park debuted the new balloon at its Grand Carnivale earlier this summer. To prepare for the special event, the park hired Amanda and Chris Sabia, the couple who own the Overland Park hot air balloon marketing company, to build and fly the hot air balloon as a sky-high marketing tool.
Chris Foshee, communications manager for Worlds of Fun, said the park has had hot air balloons in the past, but it’s been awhile.
“This is the first time that we’ve kinda brought it back into the light after at least several years,” Foshee said. “The hot air balloon is very iconic with the Worlds of Fun brand; it is incorporated in our original logo and still used today, so we were excited to bring that back. It’s such an important visual piece of the park.”
Foshee noted that the hot air balloon has been a part of the park’s branding since 1971, citing a quote from Jack Steadman, a former general manager of the park at the time.
“We chose the large, multicolored accession balloon for our symbol because it represents fun, adventure and travel reminiscent of the movie ‘Around the World in 80 Days,’” Steadman had said.
In just a few weeks, the Sabias had the balloon handmade at Cameron Balloons, a balloon manufacturer in Michigan. The balloon debuted in around the start of July, just in time for the Grand Carnivale in July and August.
“I think it’s iconic,” Chris Sabia said. “For a big corporation to come to a locally and family-owned business says a great deal for their values and our values as to what we produce.”
Foshee said it’s also important to Worlds of Fun to do business locally, making Kansas City AeroSports a good business fit for the park.
“We’re an important part of the Kansas City community, and we want to support the people that help support us,” Foshee said. “It was also an easy decision to do because they just do excellent work. The hot air balloon that they designed for us was just magnificent.”
The Sabias pilot the balloon for the park and store and maintain it when it’s not in use.
Kansas City AeroSports also markets for other brands, such as Wonder Bread. Amanda Sabia said she enjoys seeing the looks of awe on everyone’s faces when they see the hot air balloons.
“With Wonder Bread, it’s so kid-friendly,” she said. “We’re marketing to children, and with Worlds of Fun, again you’re marketing to children, and balloons are perfect for that. Because kids, whether you’re an 80-year-old child or a 24-year-old-child or 4, you get excited when you see a balloon.”
Chris Sabia said that with companies such as Wonder Bread and Worlds of Fun, “they see the value in what we do,” especially as a grassroots marketing tool.
“You can come up and talk to the people, see the balloon and kinda be involved in it,” he said. “And I think that both of those companies, Worlds of Fun Oceans of Fun and Wonder Bread see the benefit to that.”
Foshee said they’re not sure how Worlds of Fun will use the hot air balloon in the future. But in the meantime, for anyone wanting to catch a glimpse of the Worlds of Fun Oceans of Fun hot air balloon, keep your eyes to the skies — or check Kansas City AeroSports’ Facebook page for updates on future flying times, weather permitting.