The RE/MAX Group announced Thursday that it has canceled its annual balloon festival in Casper this summer due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a news release.

The local office of the real estate company said too many unknown factors remained about possible transmission of the disease at the Balloon Roundup that was scheduled for mid-July.

"The safety of our community, sponsors, pilots, vendors and festival guests is our top priority this year and we feel that having an event of this magnitude at this time would be socially irresponsible," according to the news release.

In past years, the festival on Fridays featured a meet-and-greet event with the pilots, a balloon glow, live music, carnival rides, a beer garden and food vendors.

The mass launches, given weather conditions permitted, happened at the Central Wyoming Fairgrounds at 6 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

Pilots also offered free tethered balloon rides for kids 5-12.

RE/MAX said Thursday intends to do something on a smaller scale this summer, but the company did not give any details.

However, it said it plans to host the Balloon Roundup on July 23-25, 2021.

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