With hot air balloon competitions and rides, music, delicious food and much more, attending at least one balloon festival during the year is a “must” for many people. Whether you’re looking to experience your first balloon ride or you’re a budding balloonist, these exciting events around the country (and in Canada) are a great way to celebrate the sport of ballooning.
August 09 – August 11, 2018
All Ohio Balloon Fest
If you’re looking for a fun balloon festival in Ohio, the All Ohio Balloon Fest is your event. This balloon festival started in 1975, and it’s proven to be a popular event ever since. Each year, about 30 balloonists gather for a weekend of competition and fun at the Union County Airport in Marysville, Ohio. You’ll see some unique balloons here, along with a mass launch each night and enchanting night glows. With kid-friendly activities and rides on helicopters and bi-wing planes, this event has something for everyone!
August 10 – August 12, 2018
Great Plains Balloon Race
This annual event, which started in 1975, takes place in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. It gets off to an exciting start with the Founders Cup Challenge, where about 30 competitive balloonists vie for the title of the “best.” Weather permitting, the first day of the event begins with an evening balloon launch. Morning and evening launches are highlights over the course of the weekend.
August 25 – August 26, 2018
Elephant Butte Balloon Regatta
Since 1980, this event has attracted about 50 balloonists to beautiful Elephant Butte Lake, which is located in New Mexico. Like many ballooning events, this festival features competitive balloon races as well as group launches and night glows. What distinguishes this event is that because it takes place near a lake, it also has a boat race as part of the weekend festivities.
August 29 – September 02, 2018
Spirit of Boise Balloon Classic
With events scheduled for all ages, this event in Boise, Idaho is known for being a family-friendly balloon festival that caters to all ages. There is, of course, competitive flying where top balloonists compete for prizes and prestige. There’s also a special kid’s day where children can go on tethered rides and get a behind-the-scenes look of how balloons are inflated and launched.
September 01 – September 02, 2018
Soaring Over Ripon
Located in Ripon, California, this balloon festival is relatively new compared to others in the country. It started in 2006 and takes place over Labor Day Weekend in September. An action-packed weekend is in store here for spectators, as the event includes a carnival and balloon rides for the public, offered by a hot air balloon company. Food vendors offer delicious cuisine, and there’s even a train ride for kids.
September 01 – September 03, 2018
Colorado Springs Labor Day Lift Off
Now entering its 40th year, this much-anticipated event in Colorado Springs, Colorado attracts about 65 balloonists each year. The event begins with a spectacular morning mass ascension, where at least 70 balloons take to the air at once. Other activities throughout the weekend include paddle boarding, chainsaw carving, wakeboarding, skydiving demonstrations, and musical entertainment. For those with an appetite, there’s even a doughnut eating competition! Food and drinks are provided by local vendors.
September 07 – September 09, 2018
/h2>Atlantic International Balloon Fiesta
This entertaining festival, which started in the mid-1980s, is now an annual event in New Brunswick, Canada. Many nationally and internationally acclaimed balloonists (and balloons) have made appearances at this fiesta, as have uniquely shaped balloons. Aside from watching the balloons fly, there’s plenty to do on the ground with an action-packed schedule that includes live music, amusement rides, helicopter rides and special children’s activities.
September 07 – September 09, 2018
The Great Reno Balloon Race
The Great Reno Balloon Race started in 1982 and it’s been one of the most anticipated September events in Reno, Nevada since then. The three-day festival includes competitive flying and a chance to see uniquely shaped balloons. About 115 balloons attend this annual event, which is the world’s largest free ballooning festival. Evening glows and mass ascensions are a sight to behold, especially when over 100 balloons take to the air at once! On the ground, there is plenty to see and do with food, music, merchandise and more. Over 120,000 people attend this event each year.
September 21 – September 22, 2018
Louisiana Hot Air Balloon Championship
Over 40 balloons gather annually in Gonzales, Louisiana for this early fall balloon festival. This event started in 2012 and it’s proven to be a hit since then. Along with mass ascensions and night glows, there are also balloon rides for the public. There’s a special village with activities for kids and healthy competition continues on the ground with a barbecue competition. Blues musicians perform live music throughout the weekend. The event concludes with a spectacular fireworks display, which is not to be missed!