Only in Cleveland.
Way back in 1986, the city of Cleveland’s United Way did a fundraiser by attempting to set a Guinness World Record for the most balloons ever launched from one location. Kids sold the balloons for $1 each, and volunteers spent a day filling up a giant net with helium-filled balloons.
The problem? The weather cut the publicity stunt short, and organizers not only stopped short of their 2 million balloon goal, but they had to let them go early.
The event was intended to be a harmless fundraising publicity stunt, but the balloons drifted back over the city, Lake Erie and land in the surrounding area, and caused problems for traffic and a nearby airport. The event also interfered with a United States Coast Guard search for two boaters who were later found drowned.
In consequence, the organizers and the city faced lawsuits seeking millions of US dollars in damages, and cost overruns put the event in the red.