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Festival kicks off after court decision in Northumberland County

The hot air balloon festival at Spyglass Ridge Winery continues through Sunday.

NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY, Pa. — A quick celebration after a long battle all concerning a festival set to kick off Friday at a winery near Sunbury.

 "The judge ruled in our favor and the balloons will fly," said Tom Webb, Spyglass Ridge Winery.

Tom Webb owns Spyglass Ridge Winery with his wife and last month he got a letter saying his upcoming hot air balloon and concert event would be shut down because it violated an ordinance.

"This was our 85th show this weekend and not a single question. We've been doing this for 19 years," said Webb. 

And that was among the judge's reasons for ruling in favor of Webb and his winery in court Friday.

"Never did I get a letter, never a question from the township and now all of a sudden they're gonna shut them down. It's just wrong," said Webb.

The judge said in court, quote "This letter never should have been sent." 

"At that point, everything that we were fighting here, I knew that he understood," said Webb.

"It's very important that government remembers that they're for the people and by the people and the government needs to be doing things to help the businesses," said Steve Welker, Rockefeller Township.

Two township officials in court declined to comment but told us some people living in the area were unhappy with traffic events like this can bring.

Still, the only audience we found in court were pro-Webb and his winery.

"Spyglass does a lot of good things for the community, brings a lot of revenue for us which our area needs and it's just great. We live five minutes away from it," said Sherry Welker, Rockefeller Township.

"I've attended a lot of concerts and spyglass is hands down the best to go," said Tracey Petraskie, Shamokin.

"As a taxpayer in the township of Rockefeller, I feel it was a waste of money. I think there's a lot of better things we'd be doing with our money within the township. And the township instead should be positively promoting this to make it bigger and better," said Welker.

Webb says a last-minute cancellation would have been devastating, not just to him and concert-goers but to the vendors as well.

"They've invested thousands of dollars in food supplies and everything else," said Webb.

The hot air balloon festival at Spyglass Ridge Winery continues through Sunday. 

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