Peaceful and gentle – but also high-flying and thrilling. Iowa provides ample opportunities for hot air balloon fun. Check out these annual festivals or schedule your own private ride.
July- August in Indianola
The premiere hot air balloon event in the entire Midwest heats up in Indianola every year in late July-early August. Take in nine days of balloon flights, entertainment, night glows and fireworks. While in Indianola, stop by the National Balloon Museum and U.S. Hall of Fame for a quick lesson in the history of ballooning.
Annually, Council Bluffs
Kick off your fall festivities with this hot air balloon fest held at Ditmar’s Orchard & Vineyard in Council Bluffs every year in September. Balloons take off and perform night glows all weekend with live music blasting in the background. You’ll also be able to enjoy apple picking and wine tasting at this family-owned orchard.
September in Creston
The second largest balloon rally in Iowa is held every year on the third weekend of September with more than 50 balloons participating in races. In addition to balloon flights, experience flea markets, craft fairs, car shows and historical museum open houses.
Balloon flights are featured every evening of the three-day My Waterloo Days festival held every year in mid-June. Watch balloons fly over the downtown parade, gaze at the night glow in beautiful Byrnes Park and see balloons soar over dragon boat races. Plus, you’ll be able to take in all of the entertainment, food and fun of the festival.
August in Ottumwa
The competition heats up in Ottumwa in late August as professional hot air balloon pilots show off their skills by dropping objects onto targets, grabbing money off the top of poles and playing blackjack from the air. Also featured are night glows, a carnival and fireworks.
July in Knoxville/Pella
Relax on the beach of Lake Red Rock, Iowa’s largest lake, and watch hot air balloons take off and soar over the scenic lake in mid-July. The weekend also features outdoor activities including paddling, family bike rides and a 5k/10k run on the Volksweg Trail circling the lake. Activities are centered around the North Overlook Beach.
Take a Ride
Rather take a ride than watch from the ground? These reputable hot air balloon tour companies can take you on a tour of Iowa from 5,000 feet.
Balloon Travels Unlimited, Marion
Diamondjake Ballooning, Newton
Serenity Ballooning, Indianola
TEC Visions, Central Iowa
Z-Balloon Adventures, Des Moines & Indianola Areas