Perhaps you’ve never had the privilege of going to a balloon festival and you’re curious to see what it’s all about. Or maybe you have gone to hot air balloon festivals in the past and now you’re hooked! Either way, you are in luck, as there are dozens of balloon festivals designed for both balloon enthusiasts and professional pilots throughout the United States each year. With the promise of balloon races, recreational hot air ballooning, and fun activities like musical entertainment and shopping, here are some great upcoming festivals to put on your calendar.
Balloons and Tunes
November 03-04, 2018
For over 10 years, the annual Balloons and Tunes festival in Artesia, New Mexico has attracted about 30 balloonists and many more spectators. Many people agree that there’s nothing like the sight of colorful balloons gently lifting off against the backdrop of a crisp fall sky. This weekend event features balloon launches on both Saturday and Sunday. While some ballooning events keep spectators away from the balloon setup area, you’ll be able to interact with pilots and crews here and even try your hand at inflating balloons!
Colorado River Crossing Balloon Festival
November 16-18, 2018
This classic fall festival started in 1990. Each year, about 35 balloons arrive in Yuma, Arizona for several days of ballooning fun and festivities. Every balloon festival is known for something, and this one is famous for the colorful and unusual balloons that it draws. Don’t leave your camera at home if you go, since you won’t want to miss the daily mass ascensions that take place with the Colorado River as a stunning natural backdrop. While balloons take to the skies, themed music plays continuously in the background.
Cathedral City Hot Air Balloon Festival
November 16-18, 2018
This festival takes place annually in Cathedral City, California. It brings together about 30 balloons each year for competitive rides, mass ascensions, and night glows. A special part of this festival is the presence of the “Equality Balloon,” which, along with several other tethered balloons, is available as a wedding space where couples can (and many do!) tie the knot. You will find other fun balloon festival activities here too, including live music performances. In the mornings, a bountiful breakfast kicks off every day, courtesy of local vendors who keep their food trucks onsite for the event. In between ballooning events, be sure to leave time for shopping at the outdoor market.
Annual Christmas Day Balloon Rally & Picnic
December 25-26, 2018
If the idea of a perfect holiday celebration includes ballooning, this festival is just for you. Every year on Christmas day, this special event draws an intimate gathering of 10-15 balloons at the Tracy Municipal Airport in Tracy, California. Along with a spirited balloon rally, there is a picnic afterwards where everyone can discuss all things ballooning while enjoying some quality local food. This event is weather-permitting, so it’s best to call ahead to make sure it is still taking place if the weather looks questionable.