Family Fun on the Fourth

By Kelly McCarthy

July 4, 2012 Updated Jul 5, 2012 at 11:57 AM EDT

Norwich, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Last year, a Chenango County couple noticed a void in their community. So this year, they filled it by starting a new tradition on this Fourth of July.

The first ever Music and Balloon Festival kicked off Wednesday at the Norwich fairgrounds.

A place where local residents can take a break from the Bar-B-Que's and Cookouts in their own backyards to the community's backyard.

It was something a couple felt was needed in Chenango County.

"Well we came down last year and there was nothing going on here, so we took it upon ourselves to make something happen here," said Rick Stark, event coordinator.

The First ever Music and Balloon festival went off without a hitch.

Residents from all over the county came down to the fairgrounds for a day filled with activities.

"Just to get out and listen to bands, celebrate the 4th with friends, and enjoy the weather," said Teri Van Almen of Oxford.

"We came out to enjoy the event, enjoy the music, have something to eat, and later hopefully enjoy the fireworks and celebration," said Vince Biviano, a visitor from California.

Live music kicked off the day at 11 a.m. and ran through the day.

Local bands of all different genres gave the crowds a show.

But providing a full day of entertainment wasn't easy on the organizers.

"We started in February. So, yea we talked about it all winter and started, and the last few weeks its really all we've been doing," said event coordinator Debbie Bower.

It didn't take long for me to realize what the favorite activity was for all ages.

Helicopter rides were available for anyone brave enough to give it a try.

"A little bit scary at first but once we got up there it was really cool seeing the Wal-Mart, the Price Chopper, the high school and everything you could see all the landmarks from up above," said Van Almen.

"When we were up high they look like little houses, like toys," said Harley Davis of Oxford.

Admission to the festival was just $10, kids under 12 free.

Filling a void with what residents hope is a new Independence Day tradition for Chenango County.

A car cruise-in and balloon show rounded out the daylong event.

And of course no Independence Day celebration can't be complete without fireworks.