Hot Air Balloon Festivals are a beautiful sight to see, full of color, excitement, and fun!
Watch hot air balloons inflate right in front of you, cheer along with the crowd as they rise, and eventually take off towards the sky. Soon the skies are filled with colorful shapes and sizes floating and dancing, gradually moving off into the distance.
On other nights, the balloons inflate in surrounding fields and slowly move over the horizon preparing to land right in front of the excited crowd. Occasionally, pilots compete in challenges such as dropping a flag within a boundary to see who can come closest to the target.
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PLEASE NOTE: As things continue to rapidly change during this unusual time, it is always a good idea to verify details before visiting.
Our favorite events are the Evening Balloons Glows.
On the count of One … Two … Three … GLOW!, the pilots create a beautiful landscape of colors glowing in the night sky. They mix it up with a flicker, alternating glows among balloons, or all of the balloons glow at the same time.
Many times, spectators are invited to walk amidst the balloons, asking the pilots and crew questions. My kids love also collecting cards from each balloon crew!
Midwest Hot Air Balloon Festivals
**It is always recommended to verify before visiting as dates, times, and locations can change.
February 5 – 7, 2021 – A fun winter event! Family-friendly events such as an evening parade, hot air balloon launches, geocaching, marketplace and craft fair, and hot air balloon moon glow. Read more about the Hudson Hot Air Affair from Exploration Vacation.
June 18 – 20, 2021 – Hot air balloons, live music, night glow, inflatables for the kids, Classic Car Show, and more.
June 24 – 26, 2021 – Balloon glow, balloon races, stage performances, sports tournaments, displays, exhibits, food, and more.
June 25 – 27, 2021 – The challenge will be back in 2021 for a modified balloon fest event.
Battle Creek, MI
June 30 – July 4, 2021 – Air show, Field of Rock Bands, 2 Balloon Illumes, 2 fireworks shows, Skerbeck Carnival, vendors, and family fun for everyone.
About 25 minutes south of Des Moines
July 30 – Aug. 7, 2021 – One of our favorite Summer events! 9-day festival at the end of July with nearly 100 hot air balloons filling the sky including special shapes! Live music nightly, fabulous food and beverage options, Kids Land activities, fireworks, skydivers, and more!
Nearby, be sure to also visit the National Balloon Museum (The Walking Tourists).
Ta Ha Zouka Park, Elkhorn, NE.
Aug. 20 – 21, 2021 – Balloon launches, balloon glows, and entertainment.
Aug. 10 – 15, 2021 – Hot air balloon launches and balloon glow.
East Moline, IL
Aug. 13 – 14, 2021 – Balloon launch, balloon glow, and more.
Sioux Falls, SD
Aug. 14 – 15, 2021 (Tentative) – Balloon launches and balloon glows.
Aug. 20 – 22, 2021 – Hot air balloons, balloon glows, and fireworks.
Sept. 10 – 11, 2021 (Tentative) – Balloons, family fun, balloon glow, and more.
Sept. 17 – 19, 2021 – Almost 40 balloons participate in races over the weekend. In addition, there is a parade with a marching band contest and balloonist and many more, also a doll show, arts & crafts fair, flea market, balloon night glow, food booths, and more.
Oct. 8 – 10, 2021 – Hot Air Balloon Regatta, car & motorcycle show, art & quilt shows, balloon glow, and much more.
Love a little history? Population 91 shares about a road trip itinerary based on the Peoria, IL, Hot Air Balloon Race in 1909. This was an endurance/distance race and the winner landed near Dixon, MO.
More Midwest Fun
We Hope these Festivals Return in 2022 …
As more festivals are announced for 2020, we’ll let you know about them! These are festivals that have taken place previously.
Falls City, NE
CANCELED FOR 2021
TBA – A relaxed gathering of hot air balloons. Learn more about this new, relaxed hot air balloon festival here.
Council Bluffs, IA
TBA – Watch hot air balloons from around the Midwest land and/or take off right in front of you in the picturesque beauty of Ditmar’s Orchard. Plus, enjoy live music. Always a favorite fall event.
2020 Update: All admission/parking tickets must be purchased in advance from Eventbrite. Limited amounts are available. All walk-ins will be turned away.
TBA – Balloon flights, glows, and special events.
TBA – Balloon flights and balloon glow.
St. Louis, MO
TBA – The oldest and most well-attended FREE hot air balloon event in the world.
TBA – Balloons, fireworks, and more.
TBA – Balloon competitions, vendors, parade, and more.
TBA – Balloon Lift Off, parades, fireworks, and more.