Citizen Potawatomi Nation FireLake Fireflight Balloon Festival

Media Relations Case Study


The Citizen Potawatomi Nation (CPN) hosts the annual FireLake Fireflight Balloon Festival, which draws thousands of attendees from across Oklahoma. After the festival was canceled due to the pandemic, CPN engaged Candor to build momentum for the 2021 return of one of central Oklahoma’s signature events.  


Candor interviewed CPN officials to understand the tribe’s goals, festival target audience and effectiveness of past media relations tactics. We analyzed content from similar events, including the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, to better grasp what might draw large audiences and increase tourism.   
We developed a PR calendar to maintain a steady cadence of coverage over nearly two months and planned a first-ever media preview event.  
To boost media coverage, we strategically dripped out press releases and human-interest stories about specific aspects of the festival, like the 5K and free concert with country music stars, in the months and weeks leading up to the event.  


Candor dramatically exceeded the initial campaign goal — we secured 139 total hits and 43 unique stories. The campaign was a major success and drew more than 15,000 people to Shawnee for the two-day event. The festival also won the Outstanding Event Award during the 2022 RedBud Awards, hosted by the Oklahoma Travel Industry Association.