Few things are as thrilling and majestic as witnessing hot air balloons take flight and float peacefully over the landscape. Michigan hosts several spectacular hot air balloon festivals and events each year that allow you to watch colorful balloons up close and enjoy family-friendly festivities.
Read on for a guide to the top hot air balloon festivals in Michigan that balloon enthusiasts and spectators of all ages should add to their bucket list. Please join Let’s save Michigan to learn more through this article.
1. Michigan Challenge Hot Air Balloon Festival
Howell’s annual Michigan Challenge Hot Air Balloon Festival brings three days of hot air balloons and community fun to Southeast Michigan. Up to 60 balloons participate, many specially shaped like Darth Vader, bees, cows and more.
The festival features morning and evening balloon launches, balloon glows and races set to live bands, kids’ activities, carnival rides, craft vendors, food and beverages. Local wineries offer tastings.
The Friday night balloon glow and Saturday evening balloon launch are stunning spectacles against the sunset that draw huge crowds. Enjoy a magical balloon experience for the whole family.
2. Battle Creek Field of Flight Air Show and Balloon Festival
The Field of Flight in Battle Creek is one of America’s top air shows featuring aerobatic performances, military jet demonstrations, vintage aircraft and droves of hot air balloons. Each day begins with a morning hot air balloon launch as balloonists from across the U.S. participate.
At the Balloons Over Battle Creek Field, see balloon glows, walk through balloon displays, experience tethered rides and interact with balloon pilots. The night air show and fireworks provide stunning entertainment all week.
Other activities include carnival rides, model airplane flying, kids’ inflatables and thrill shows like jet truck racing, monster trucks, and jet pack stunts. The Field of Flight delivers an unbeatable lineup of air spectacles and family fun.
3. Midland Balloon Fest
Nestled within the forests and wetlands of Chippewa Nature Center, the Midland Balloon Fest brings a peaceful natural setting to hot air ballooning. Watch balloons launch over the treetops and gently float over the Tittabawassee River.
Along with morning and evening balloon launches, enjoy interactive exhibits, crafts, kids nature activities, live music, food trucks and balloon memorabilia vendors.
At night, walk candle-lit trails to the launch field and be mesmerized by magical balloon glows reflected on the water and lighting up the woods. Experience the tranquility of ballooning combined with summer fun for all ages.
4. Petoskey Balloon Festival
For gorgeous ballooning along the shores of Lake Michigan, head to the Petoskey Balloon Festival held annually at the Emmet County Fairgrounds. Watch as hot air balloons launch over Little Traverse Bay and float past the harbor and marina.
In addition to twice daily mass balloon launches, the festival includes balloon glows, balloon rides, events like balloon bowling and pilot competitions, kids’ activities, craft vendors, concessions, live music, and more.
Night launches over the bay are stunning. Enjoy a scenic Northern Michigan backdrop for hot air ballooning at its best.
5. Berrien Springs Balloon Fest
Head to the Berrien County Youth Fairgrounds for three days of hot air ballooning at the annual Berrien Springs Balloon Fest. Over a dozen hot air balloons launch from the fairgrounds over the rural countryside and farmland.
Along with morning and evening balloon launches, the festival features balloon glows, tethered rides, helicopter rides, kids’ activities, live music, food vendors, arts & crafts, carnival rides and more family fun.
See balloons up close, meet the pilots, enjoy the festive atmosphere and watch in wonder as colorful balloons drift over the landscape. Top off your visit with awe-inspiring balloon glows at dusk.
6. Coldwater Country Balloon Fest
For gorgeous ballooning over glistening water, head to the Coldwater Country Balloon Fest. Watch as colorful hot air balloons launch over Coldwater Lake and gently float over the water. With sunrise and sunset launches, the views are stunning.
Guests can also enjoy balloon glows lakeside at night, lighted boat parade, arts & crafts vendors, concessions, kids zone, live music, classic car show, and great lakeside views of the balloons. Special room rates are available if you want to make it an overnight retreat.
7. Dundee Balloonfest
The scenic Wolverine Campgrounds make an idyllic setting for the Dundee Balloonfest. Over 20 hot air balloons launch above the woods and float peacefully over Ford Lake for serene morning and evening flights throughout the weekend.
This family-friendly festival includes balloon glows, balloon rides, kids’ activities like moonwalk inflatables, arts and crafts vendors, live music, food concessions, camping sites and dazzling fireworks shows.
Against the natural setting, colorful balloons floating over the lake and glowing over the trees is a majestic sight.
8. St. Johns Hot Air Balloon Festival
For over 20 years, hot air balloonists from across the region have showcased their skills at the St. Johns Hot Air Balloon Festival. Watch dozens of hot air balloons launch and float over the Clinton County Fairgrounds throughout the weekend.
This family-friendly festival includes morning and evening balloon launches, balloon glows, balloon ride opportunities, kids’ activities, classic car show, live music, arts & crafts marketplace and local food vendors.
See balloons up close, interact with pilots, enjoy glows over the fairgrounds at dusk and watch stunning mass ascensions filling the skies with bright balloons.
9. Lake Orion Balloonfest
Canterbury Village provides an utterly charming backdrop for the Lake Orion Balloonfest. Hot air balloons launch over the English cottages, gardens and lake for stunning flights throughout the weekend. The village comes alive with music, entertainment, arts, crafts and food.
Along with morning and evening balloon launches, the festival features evening balloon glows, arts & crafts, kids rides and games, classic car show, historical reenactments, live music, food and local Michigan beer tent.
Watching vibrant balloons float over the quaint English village architecture makes for a one-of-a-kind hot air balloon experience. Don’t miss the magical glowing balloons at dusk!
10. Algonac Pointe Tremble Hot Air Balloon Festival
For gorgeous ballooning over the water, make your way to Algonac for the Pointe Tremble Hot Air Balloon Festival. Watch as colorful balloons lift off along the St. Clair River and ascend over the marinas with amazing waterfront views.
In addition to twice daily balloon flights, the festival includes balloon glows, arts & crafts, classic car show, riverfront campgrounds, live entertainment stage, carnival rides and games, fireworks, and kayak races on the water.
See balloons dot the sky with the sparkling river as a backdrop during this scenic riverside event.
11. Whispering Pines Hot Air Balloon Festivals in Michigan
Escape to the lakeshore for hot air ballooning at Whispering Pines Balloon Festival in Union Pier. Watch as colorful balloons lift off over the lake at the Shady Creek Event Center throughout the weekend.
Along with morning and evening balloon launches, the festival features balloon glows, tethered rides, live music, kids zone, craft vendors, classic cars, wine and beer tent, golf cart parade and glittering fireworks shows.