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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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!
20+ Midwest Hot Air Balloon Festivals
Falls City, NE
June 15, 2019
June 21 – 23, 2019 – Always held the third full weekend in June.
June 27 – 29, 2019 – Balloon glow, balloon races, stage performances, sports tournaments, displays, exhibits, food and more.
June 28 – 30, 2019 – Hot-air balloon competition, family fun, and entertainment.
Battle Creek, MI
July 3 – 7, 2019 – Balloon launch, carnival, fireworks, Air Show, and more.
July 4 – 6, 2019 (Carnival July 3-7) – 100% volunteer, 100% to charities. Kids activities and carnival, entertainment, fireworks, and more.
About 25 minutes south of Des Moines
July 26 – August 3, 2019 – 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! Balloon flights, Dawn Patrol, Wacky Classic Parade, Fireworks, live music nightly, and our favorite – Night Glows.
Nearby, be sure to also visit the National Balloon Museum (The Walking Tourists).
20595 Lincoln Rd., Gretna, NE
August 9 – 10, 2019 – Balloon launches and Balloon Glows, Entertainment.
Sioux Falls, SD
August 9 – 11, 2019 – Balloon launches and balloon glows.
August 13 – 18, 2019 – Hot air balloon launches and balloon glow.
August 16 – 18, 2019 – More than 40 hot air balloons, balloon glows, and fireworks.
August 23 – 24, 2019 – A relaxed gathering of hot air balloons. Learn more about this new, relaxed hot air balloon festival here.
Council Bluffs, IA
September 6 – 8, 2019 – Watch hot air balloons from around the Midwest land and/or takeoff right in front of you in the picturesque beauty of Ditmar’s Orchard. Live music, balloon glow, and competition flights. Always a favorite fall event.
September 6 – 8, 2019 – Balloons, fireworks, and more.
September 6 – 8, 2019 – Balloon flights and balloon glow.
St. Louis, MO
September 20 – 21, 2019 – The oldest and most well-attended FREE hot air balloon event in the world.
September 20 – 22, 2019 – More than 40 balloons participate in races over the weekend. In addition, there is a parade with a marching band contest, also a doll show, arts & crafts fair, flea market, balloon night glow, food booths, and more.
September 21 – 22, 2019 – Balloon Lift Off, parades, fireworks, and more.
East Moline, IL
September 27 – 29, 2019 – Balloon launch, balloon glow, play area for the kids, and more.
October 11 – 13, 2019 – 20 balloons from all over the area will begin with a balloon glow on Friday evening, then followed by three regattas over the weekend (weather permitting).
February 7 – 9, 2020 – 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.
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
More to Come …
As more festivals are announced for 2019, we’ll let you know about them! These are festivals that have taken place previously.
July TBA – Waterford Balloonfest features hot air balloon activities, food, craft & business vendors, live entertainment stages for kids and adults, helicopter rides, tethered balloon rides, an outdoor movie, kids activities, and more. Read more about The Waterford Balloonfest from A Little Time and A Keyboard.
July TBA – Balloon flights, glows, and special events.
TBA – Balloon competitions, vendors, parade, and more.
September TBA – Balloons, family fun, balloon glow, and more.