- Associated Press - Thursday, June 12, 2014

SIMPSONVILLE, S.C. (AP) - An Upstate hot air balloon festival has been grounded.

Organizers of the Aloft festival said Wednesday they have discontinued the Memorial Day weekend event and are in the process of filing for bankruptcy protection.

Backers said attendance had been declining, and officials say many people camped out nearby to watch the balloons rather than pay admission to the event.

Interim Simpsonville city administrator David Dyrhaug says the festival owed the city $22,000 in back payments from the 2013 festival and had not yet made any payments on $30,000 owed from this year’s event.

Vendors also say they have not been paid.

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