History of the Flag City BalloonFest
The Flag City BalloonFest has been a free community event from its beginning in 1999. This event is sponsored by local businesses that understand the value and pride of investing in their community and the rewards our community receives in return.
The Flag City BalloonFest was founded by Findlay businessman Dan Clinger and his son Phil, who is an experienced Hot Air Balloon Pilot. In 1999, along with a committee of family, friends, and volunteers, this group dedicated themselves to the idea of creating a local celebration for the New Millennium in year 2000. And what a celebration it was! It has continued each year since then, and has become the most anticipated and exciting festival in Findlay and Northwest Ohio.
Flag City USA Story
Designating Findlay, Ohio, as "Flag City, U.S.A." began in the 1960's, was the inspiration of Findlay Resident John B. Cooke. Through a community-wide effort, spearheaded by the Women's Division of the Chamber of Commerce, the City of Findlay was named the Flag Capital of the United States on Flag Day, June 14, 1968, a proclamation which has been made part of the Congressional Record on June 12, 1968, by Congressman Jackson E. Betts. Findlay, Ohio, was officially declared "Flag City, U.S.A." on May 7, 1974, by House Joint Resolution #1003, introduced by Congressman Tennyson Guyer.
Findlay, Ohio, Flag City, USA — Congressional Designation presented on May 7, 1974 — House Joint Resolution #1003.
Our story begins in the mid 1960s when a man by the name of John B. Cooke moved to Findlay, Ohio.
As a member of the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR), Cooke believed it was important to fly the American Flag. Mr. Cooke had the inspirational idea that every house in Findlay should fly an American Flag on Flag Day, June 14. He went throughout the City speaking to businesses and industries as well as individual citizens.
A fund was created to be controlled by the John Hancock Chapter of the SAR. His goal to buy 14,000 small flags to be distributed by the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and Camp Fire Girls was accomplished and enough money remained to dedicate a plaque in memory of and honor to those men and women who have carried the torch of freedom for our country.
The media was notified that Findlay would become the Flag Capitol of the United States on Flag Day. American Flags would and will be flown all day on June 14 and subsequent holidays creating one of the major exhibitions of patriotism in the United States. On Wednesday, June 12, 1968, the Honorable Jackson E. Betts, Representative to Congress from District 4, made a presentation in the House of Representatives:
"Mr. Speaker: The strong patriotism of residents of my district has rarely been better exhibited than the present project which will make Findlay, Ohio, Flag City, USA, on June 14, 1968.
In Flag City, on June 14, 1968, every house in the entire City of Findlay, Ohio, will fly replicas of the flag of the United States. Fourteen thousand small flags have been purchased and distributed for this community-wide display on all city homes. The John Hancock Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution are seeing that flags are delivered through the enthusiastic cooperation of the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and the Camp Fire Girls of the area. Appropriate ceremonies will be held on June 14 to dedicate a plaque to the men and women of our Armed Forces at the Courthouse. I am pleased to provide a flag flown over the U.S. Capitol especially for this occasion."
Flag City USA Story, cont’s
On June 14, 1968, flags waved and the enthusiasm was set for the future flying of the National Flag. This continued until 1974. By that time Tennyson Guyer had replaced Jackson Betts in Congress. The Women's Division of the Chamber of Commerce started a campaign to once again have the flags fly and Findlay become Flag City, USA. This effort was aided by the Optimist Club. Congressman Guyer was approached and through his introduction of House Joint Resolution #1003, Findlay was officially declared Flag City, USA.
On May 27, 1974, Tennyson Guyer sent a letter to the Women's Division of The Chamber:
"I feel it highly appropriate on this Memorial Day, that I sincerely congratulate you in your fine efforts to revitalize and magnify our combined efforts to officially and whole-heartedly herald the City of Findlay as Flag City, USA."
Following the receipt of this letter, on June 20, 1974, the Women's Division of the Chamber of Commerce filed papers of incorporation with the State of Ohio declaring Findlay to be "Findlay-Flag City, USA."
Since this time, merchants, industry, residents, and friends have taken great pride in the new designation.
Findlay, Ohio, Flag City, USA, is a fast growing community of some 41,000 citizens; a city having a great heritage since 1812. Conservative, yet energetically progressive in handling its new growth, Findlay is now an international community with new world-wide corporations and industries locating here. Findlay is a patriotic community, enthusiastically proud of its official designation as Flag City, USA.