Cleveland Ohio’s Failed Balloon Launch in 1986
Watching a helium balloon ascend into the skies and float away has become a symbol of grief here in America. I'm not sure where the idea of balloon releases started but it has since grown like wildfire and so many people across the country let go of balloons in remembrance of their loved ones. Well, this isn't necessarily great for the Earth for many reasons.
Most of the time these balloon releases go well and they float away until they eventually lose helium and land somewhere else on planet Earth. Sometimes that's in the ocean or other places but either way, it's like littering and has become illegal in some places. I'm surprised balloon releases weren't made illegal after Cleveland tried to set the Guinness World Record and failed HORRIBLY.
Who even knew that there was a World Record for the most amount of balloons released at once? I know I didn't but I should've known, there's a world record for just about everything under the sun. Well, the record for the most balloons released at once is an abundantly large number and Cleveland was SO close to holding the record until disaster struck.
In 1986 many gathered in downtown Cleveland and as they filled the streets they also filled a suspended net with balloons. As the crowd and balloons gathered so did the anticipation as they were preparing to set off the barrage of balloons to make history, but I don't think they accounted for the weather.
As they placed the last balloon into place and released the cord on the net, the city of Cleveland and all who gathered watched as 1.5 million helium-filled balloons floated to the sky until they started to fall back down. Below is a TikTok video explaining how this happened.
@dylan.pageDamn Ohio jokes go way back huh?💀😳♬ original sound - Dylan Page
As the balloons surrounded the Terminal Tower onlookers assumed they would continue to rise. The balloons collided with a cold front and rain which sent the balloons falling back to ground level. This caused havoc as the still-fully inflated balloons caused distracted drivers to crash, the airspace to be shut down started clogging waterways, and even made it impossible for a search party to find two fishermen who had gone missing, their bodies washed up two days later.
Horses were startled and much more damage was done around Northeast Ohio, which led to the event organizers being fined $100,000. All of this occurred and it may have all been in vain due to the results of the event. Not only did catastrophe hit but Guinness World Records didn't even acknowledge the attempt so it was as if this crazy balloon tragedy never occurred.