Everything You Need to Know About ‘Fire Up DWNTWN: A Summer Streetfest’

You can see CHRIS P. BACON, Sponsored by JohnTom’s Barbecue any many more balloon characters at 'Fire Up DWNTWN: A Summer Streetfest.'You can see CHRIS P. BACON, Sponsored by JohnTom’s Barbecue any many more balloon characters at 'Fire Up DWNTWN: A Summer Streetfest.'

By Muncie Downtown Development Partnership—

MUNCIE, IN—Things are heating up in downtown Muncie in anticipation of Fire Up DWNTWN: A Summer Streetfest on August 6, sponsored by Ivy Tech – Muncie. “This event is above and beyond anything we have hosted in many years downtown,” said Cheryl Crowder, event director of Muncie Downtown Development Partnership.

“We wanted to celebrate downtown’s growth and revitalization by merging elements of past iconic events akin to RibFest, Summer Heat and music festivals, something that could bring the entire community together” said Veach. “Over one hundred volunteers, organizations, and businesses have partnered with us to launch a one-of-a-kind experience in East Central Indiana.”

Pre-festivities kick off on Friday, August 5, at 7pm when Par Tee, the golf ball special shape hot air balloon inflates in The Clubhouse At Accutech parking lot, 115 S Walnut St, Muncie. The Clubhouse will be open, offering fun family entertainment and unique food and drink.

On Saturday, August 6, Walnut Street will transform into a pedestrian-only street festival between Main Street and CananCommons and Mulberry to Charles. Packed with family-friendly attractions, ribs, food vendors, hot rods and live music, the event has something for everyone. Fire Up DWNTWN begins at 1pm and there is no entry fee.

Live music will fill the air from stages at the Ivy Tech Plaza and Canan Commons. The parking lot at Casa Del Sol hosts Freaky Tiki Friday “On Saturday” with music performances featuring Doc Peterson and Friends.

The HotSpot children’s area will feature hot air balloon twinkle baskets with burners, a lava slide, Harley, the mechanical pig, a children’s train, Mr. Daniels show and much more. Downtown retailers, restaurants and bars will offer signature food and beverage and event-only deals.

Downtown sidewalks will be canvassed with craft vendors, artisans, and other attractions.

There will be plenty to eat and drink, including sizzling barbecue ribs in addition to the special offerings from local restaurants and vendors. The Muncie police and firefighters will go head-to-head in a rib-eating contest, water ball duel, and MRAP pull.

“The hot air balloons will come to life in the early evening,” said Crowder. “The special shape balloons will inflate in parking lots and open spaces around downtown. You won’t believe the size of these balloons – they average 50 feet wide and up to 115 feet high.”

Seven hot air balloons will fly over Canan Commons at 7 p.m., where attendees can also enjoy tethered rides from 7 to 10 p.m. at $20 per person. At dusk, the special shape hot air balloons will perform a 90-minute illumination show followed by a fireworks finale.

Event parking will be available in the Northwest Bank parking lot at the corner of Mulberry and Charles Streets, Ivy Tech’s Red and Blue lots on Franklin Street, and the public parking garage on Liberty Street.

MITS also is offering a Park and Ride service on August 6th between 1 and 6 p.m. from the Star Bank Building on High Street and the corner of Charles and Walnut Streets.

Muncie residents should note the following street closures from 8 a.m. on August 6 to noon on August 7:

  • Walnut Street will be closed from Main Street to the Canan Commons Roundabout
  • Adams and Charles Streets will be closed from High to Mulberry
  • Mulberry Street will be closed from the Roundabout to Charles St
  • Main Street and Jackson Street will remain open
  • City parking lots will remain open
  • High Street will remain open with access to Walnut Street South
  • Vehicles south of roundabout traveling northeast will be detoured on Willard Street
  • Vehicles south of roundabout traveling northwest will be detoured on Victor Street

Vicki Veach, executive director of Muncie Downtown Development Partnership, expressed gratitude for the volunteers, sponsors and contributors. “Many valued partners believed in the vision for Fire Up allowing us to turn this event into the reality of a high-caliber street festival for all citizens in Muncie and East Central Indiana,” said Veach. “Their support allows us to offer an extensive and unique experience without charging an entry fee.”

Muncie Mayor Dan Ridenour said, “I am so excited for Fire Up Downtown. This event will showcase many of the great features about both Muncie and our people. Come on out and enjoy. It will be fun!”

The event’s presenting sponsor is Ivy Tech Muncie. Special shape balloons are sponsored by CANPACK, Boyce Systems, The Clubhouse @Accutech, Wealth Strategies Inc, Ball State Athletics/Muncie Sports Commission, Woof Boom Radio, The Star Press, Boulder Falls/The Frozen Boulder and JohnToms Barbecue. Event attractions are sponsored by MITS, Open Door Health Services, Camp and Eat Boat-Tique, First Merchants Bank, NASH FM102.5 Great Grizzly/BoomersFactory Direct, The Community Foundation of Muncie & Delaware County and Ruoff Mortgage. Other contributors include Ball Brothers Foundation, the Sherman and Marjorie Zeigler Foundation and downtown businesses.

See Below for the Event Schedule and Balloon pilots/Balloon Sponsors

LITTLE D Sponsored by Woof Boom Radio

Piloted by Curtis Simonye-Fishers, IN

Curtis has been a pilot since 1979, serving as both a hot air balloon pilot and a commercial aircraft pilot flying international heavy cargo and military operations around the world. He retired in 2018 and now flies his personal aircraft.

CHRIS P. BACON Sponsored by JohnTom’s Barbecue

Piloted by Jordan Cox-Carmel, IN

Jordan owns Indy Wind Riders and has been a hot air balloon pilot for eight years. When he’s not flying, he is a full-time firefighter for the city of Carmel, Indiana.

FINLEY Sponsored by Boyce Systems

Piloted by Brian Serge-Indianapolis, IN

Brian started ballooning in 2013 as a way to get out of the house. He has crewed for more than 800 hours of balloon flying and earned the Level 3 Crew Chief designation with the Balloon Federation of America. In 2021 Brian bought his own balloon and obtained his pilot’s license.

TOUCHDOWN Sponsored by Ball State Athletics and Muncie Sports Commission

Piloted by Derek Browning-Louisville, KY

Derek started his ballooning career in 1978 as a crew member for the Sunny Side of Louisville in Southern Indiana. He earned his pilot license in 1995 and purchased his own balloon after retiring in 2012. Since then, he earned his commercial license and participates in events and races across the country.

IVO Sponsored by Boulder Falls and the Frozen Boulder

Piloted by Justin Cox-Carmel, IN

Justin got his start in 1992 crewing for one of the largest balloons in North America. Since then, he has earned his pilot license and has flown all over the country and the world, including Ireland, Switzerland, Czech Republic and Mexico. He has been a firefighter for 18 years with the city of Carmel.



OGGY Sponsored by Canpack

Piloted by Jack Semler-Westfield, IN

Jack’s love of ballooning came from his first balloon ride on a date with his wife 26 years ago. A resident of Westfield, Indiana, his entire adult career has been in the aviation industry. He currently flies as captain andinstructor/examiner for a worldwide cargo line out of Memphis, Tennessee.

PARROT PETE Sponsored by Wealth Strategies, Inc

Piloted by Dave Reineke-Mohomet, IL

Dave and his wife, Kathy, are a unique husband-and-wife pilot team. Earning their licenses in the early 1980’s, ballooning has allowed them to travel coast to coast andinternationally. They live in Mohomet, Illinois.

PAR/TEE Sponsored by The Clubhouse at Accutech

Piloted by Taylon Sandlin-Fishers, IN

Taylon has been a hot air balloon pilot for nine years. Hegrew up crewing for other pilots and wanted to try it out for himself. He is a resident of Fishers, Indiana and has flownwith his ballooning team in Canada, Mexico, and Qatar.

PEANUT Sponsored by The Star Press

Piloted by Erik Eaton-Columbus, IN

Erik was hooked on hot air ballooning when he took his first ride in 1990. He spent years crewing and chasing before receiving his commercial license in 2011. A resident of Columbus, Indiana, he enjoys teaching new hot air balloon pilots and competing in festivals across the country.

SMILEY Sponsored by Muncie Downtown Development Partners

Piloted by Paul Feltey-Danville, IN

Paul graduated from Indiana State University with an aviation degree and is an air traffic controller in Indianapolis. He has been hot air ballooning for 14 years.


Click here for a larger view of the event schedule posted below.