In 1983, a few families got together and argued over who had the best spiedies recipe in Binghamton. To put an end to their friendly rivalry, they held the first Spiedie Fest Cooking Contests in subsequent years.
After a successful contest in 1984, a small committee formed and it was decided to create the first Spiedie Fest & Balloon Rally at Otsiningo Park with about five hot air balloons, some local music and a small children’s area. The first year had an attendance of approximately 4,000.
Today, Binghamton hosts what is considered one of the top hot air balloon rallies in the country, drawing over 100,000 admissions each year. In 2001, the festival was recognized by the Library of Congress with a Legacy Award and today a Spiedie Fest display resides in the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. In 2005, the festival was named one of the 100 Destinations in the U.S. by Destination Magazine.