If you are looking for a U.S. Balloon Festival to go to, look no further. This is a list of the 10 most popular hot air balloon festivals in America. While this is in no way an all-encompassing list, it is a good place to start. The majority of the hot air balloon festivals listed have night glows, food vendors, kids zones, and live music.
Many of these have an attendance of over 100,000 people and over 100 different colorful hot air balloons.
- Albuquerque International Balloon Festival
- Where: Albuquerque, New Mexico
- When: October 6-14, 2018
- Years of Festival: 47
This one is not only the largest U.S. balloon festival but the largest in the entire world. Over five hundred hot air balloons launch each year. (For comparison, some balloon festivals considered “large” only launch around 20 balloons.) A massive balloon launch the size of 54 football fields – or 78 acres – will take place. According to Albuquerque Business First, the 2017 attendance of the festival was 839,309.
- QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning
- Where: Readington, New Jersey
- When: July 27-29, 2018
- Year of Festival: 36
Over 100 different shaped hot air balloons float in the sky from two daily launches. Aside from the normal glows and events, this U.S. balloon festival hosts a 5K run. Around 165,000 people attend the event each year.
- The Adirondack Balloon Festival
- Where: Glen Falls and Queensbury, New York
- When: September 20-23, 2018
- Year of Festival: 46
The hot air balloon festival is completely made up of volunteer staff. This festival normally has over 100 various hot air balloons, has military aircrafts on display, kite flying, and fireworks. Over the four days of the festival, 150,000 people attend. To top it off the hot air balloon festival has always been free of charge.
- The Great Reno Balloon Race
- Where: Reno, Nevada
- When: September 7-9, 2018
- Years of Festival: 37
The festival had “humble beginnings” and started in 1982 with only 20 balloons. Since then it has morphed into a huge U.S. balloon festival with over 100 balloons each year. Attendance averages are estimated around 140,000. According to their page, it is “the largest free hot-air ballooning event in the world.”
- Great Falls Balloon Festival
- Where: Lewiston, Auburn, Maine
- When: August 17-19, 2018
- Years of Festival: 26
This U.S. balloon festival boasts an attendance of around 100,000 people. This balloon festival is free and earns over $2,000,000 for non-profit organizations according to their website. While there is not a 2018 schedule up, normally between 30-40 hot air balloons are at the festival.
- National Balloon Classic
- Where: Indianola, Iowa
- When: July 27-August 4, 2018
- Years of Festival: 40
This Iowa balloon festival is rising in attendance each year; last year’s attendance reached 70,000 people. For nine days this hot air balloon festival has almost 100 different balloons. The festival invites its attendees to “enjoy the beautiful countryside” and listen to live music as they watch the balloons take flight – all for a simple $5 admission.
- Great Texas Balloon Race
- Where: Longview, Texas
- When: July 27-29, 2018
- Years of Festival: 41
Longview has earned its title as “The Balloon Capital of Texas” with this hot air balloon festival. This festival started back in 1978 as a hot air balloon launch for a mall. By 1985, its popularity spread, and it moved location (and would a few more times). A “ring toss” competition is one of the most popular parts of this hot air balloon race. It is the longest running hot air balloon event in Texas.
- Where: Kennesaw, Georgia
- When: October 19-20, 2018
- Years of Festival: 6
A wide array of costumes will be seen at this festival. This kid-friendly hot air balloon festival will have a “costume showdown,” over 20 balloons, and will boast seven different stages with live music. Expected attendance for this year is over 50,000.
- Colorado Springs Labor Day Liftoff
- Where: Colorado Springs, Colorado
- When: September 1-3, 2018
This hot air balloon festival hosts unique events, including a doughnut eating competition and a chainsaw carving. As with some of the other U.S. balloon festivals, the event is free.
- All Ohio Balloon Festival
- Where: Marysville, Ohio
- When: August 9-11, 2018
- Years of Festival: 43
For this year, the All Ohio Balloon Festival welcomes two legendary hot air balloons – the Star Wars themed Darth Vader and Yoda balloons. The duo will be making a trip all the way from Belgium to attend the festival. Last year, the two were at the Albuquerque balloon museum for a Star Wars themed hot air balloon event.
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