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West Nile Concerns For Plano’s Balloon Festival

CBS DFW (con't)

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PLANO (CBSDFW.COM) – With the threat of the West Nile Virus still looming as Plano’s Balloon Festival is set to start, the city’s health department has been working overtime to drive out any mosquitoes.

The health department has been spraying Oak Point Park and its scenic nature preserve for three straight days to ward off the insects which could carry the West Nile Virus.

“We feel fairly confident that mosquitoes should not be an issue at this year’s balloon event,” syas Geoff Heinicke with the Plano Health Department.

Vendors like Cindy Conway have employees wearing repellent skin patches and will have anti-mosquito spray alongside the mustard at her corn dog stand.

“I’ve been to other festivals and it really hasn’t changed anything I think people come prepared and they just want to be out and go to the festival.”

Another vendor, Denise Snyder of Spudzilla Potatoes, agrees. “I did various festivals within the last few weeks and It didn’t seem like the crowd was any thinner than normal.”

Usually, only bad weather can wreak havoc on the annual event. This year, its expected draw anywhere from 150-to-300-thousand people.

Residents like Charrisse Proctor aren’t about to let mosquitoes keep them away. “It’s something I look forward to bringing my grandchildren to.”

She says West Nile is something she will think about, but it will not stop her from coming to the event.

Health department officials say mosquitoes tested less than a mile from the festival grounds were carrying the virus. However, they believe all the hard work they’ve done will make people as safe here as anywhere.

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