LEWISTON — Dempsey Challenge organizers have agreed to help the Great Falls Balloon Festival Committee replace the power cables stolen from storage in April, according to a statement by staff members of both events.

The heavy-duty copper cords used to power Simard-Payne Memorial Park for the Balloon Festival and the Dempsey Challenge each year were discovered stolen in April, and festival organizers have been trying to raise the funds needed to replace the missing equipment.

About 26,000 feet of copper power cords valued at more than $40,000 had been stored on large spools in a locked trailer in Auburn for the winter, along with dozens of outdoor outlet covers.

The Balloon Festival organizers have held fundraising events and created a GoFundMe page to raise the money needed. 

“The generosity of the Great Falls Balloon Festival has saved us thousands of dollars over the years because we didn’t have to rent electrical equipment to power the Dempsey Challenge festivities in Simard-Payne Park,” Aimee Arsenault, manager of Special Events & Development for The Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope & Healing, said in a news  release Thursday afternoon.

“We’re glad to be able to give back to the community in this way and be a part of the continued success of the Great Falls Balloon Festival and, of course, our own event,” she said.

According to the release, upgrades done recently at Simard-Payne Memorial Park reduced the amount of equipment that needs to be replaced.

The Great Falls Balloon Festival will take place Aug. 21-23. The Dempsey Challenge will take place Oct. 17-18.


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