Canowindra Balloon Challenge organisers this year had everything - crowds, balloons, spectators, participants, profit - there's just one more thing the organisers would love to see.
Wider community ownership of the event.
In only the third year since its inception, the 2012 Challenge took off with a crowd of more than 6,000 attending the signature event, the Balloon Glow.
It might only be a few weeks since it wound up but organiser Jan Kerr and husband Graham are already looking back over the last month, analysing and using the success of this year's event to look at snaring the Australian Ballooning Championships for next year's Challenge.
They - and committee colleagues Kerrie and Arthur Falconer - paid tribute to the many who helped make this year's Challenge such a success but are hoping for even more community involvement to see the event grow to its full potential.
"We are really looking for more volunteers," Jan explained.
"This is a community event and its all for community groups."
She stressed the Canowindra Challenge is not ill-fated Marti's - which suffered from financial problems that eventually caused the famous balloon festival to wind up - and the emphasis is on sustainability, supporting the community and giving people the opportunity to be a part of the success.
"For example, there have been so many community groups this year that have made money and really benefited from this year's Challenge," Jan said.
"The Lions Club sold more than 1,000 sausage sandwiches, they even had to have the butcher come in the next morning to have more meat done up ready for the next barbeque.
"That's just one example of money being made.
"It helped raise almost $4,000 for the Read family, just with small change - another example of helping out.
"We want it to grow, and we want it to make money, we just need everyone to help. We want people to be involved.
"People say to us, 'I really don't know what I can do', but it's so much more than just the balloons."
She highlighted the example of helping out with promotion and marketing, distributing posters and advertising material, or even just helping out with security and making tea and coffee.
The committee too is planning to attend an upcoming tourism workshop soon, to brainstorm ideas of where to take the event.
Already, ideas are being workshopped to further develop the 2013 event, such as that of more community performers and local entertainment at the Balloon Glow, prior to the balloons taking centre stage.
Dates for next year's Challenge have already been set and the 2013 Challenge will aim for a little later, from April 20, to work in with the Victorian school holidays.
''Please come and own this event. We want to see it grow for the benefit of Canowindra."
Jan and the committee extended their personal thanks to NSW Department of Trade and Investment; Cabonne Shire Council; Origin LPG; Essential Energy; Inland Technology; Toms Waterhole Wines; Balloon Joy Flights; Blue Lagoon Resort; Gardners Ground; Age of Fishes Museum and its volunteers; Cowra Tourism and its staff, especially Sallie and Belinda; The Old Vic Inn; Canowindra Trading Post; Canowindra Pharmacy; Canowindra Caltex/Barry and Kim Burns; Peter Darley (apples); all volunteers at the Balloon Glow; The Canowindra Mens Shed for manning the gates at the Balloon Glow; Robyn Wilkinson; Year 10 Canowindra High School students and teacher Owen McLaughlan for their Emu parade; Mark Ward; observers/chase crews and officials; St Edwards parents and friends volunteers; Cheryl Page; and local landholders who welcomed balloonists for both launching, landing and for targets.
For more information on the event, contact Jan Kerr on 6344 1819.
NB The Canowindra Caravan Park also extended thanks associated with the staging of this year’s Challenge, to Rosnay and Gardners Ground for their donations of wine to campers.