While there are 2 Maryland hot air balloon festivals, there is a third just across the border.
So here we’re going to look at your options for hot air balloon festivals in Maryland and what fun activities they each have so you can decide which one is worth going to.
Original Chesapeake Balloon Festival
August 25 – 27, 2023 | Cordova, MD | Website
The Original Chesapeake Balloon Festival used to be the Ocean City Balloon Festival but still has all the same fun things to do
Of course, there are hot air balloon rides and tethered hot air balloon rides, but there are also more attractions like:
- Kids games
- Face painting
- Live bands
- Tons of meal & dessert options
And because it’s held at Triple Creek Winery, one of my favorite wineries in Maryland, they’ll be wine and beer tasting for you.
Unlike the other hot air balloon festivals, you can visit the sunflower patch too so don’t forget your camera!
The Chesapeake Balloon Festival used to be held in Delta, PA, about an hour from the Baltimore Harbor.
Note: the kids village does have additional fees for some of their activities like face painting, bounce houses and games so be prepared
While adults are required to have $35 paid tickets to enter, kids 15 and under are free.
The Balloon Glow & Laser Show
August 26 – 27, 2023 | Crownesville, MD | Website
Maryland’s second hot air balloon festival is The Balloon Glow & Laser Show which is held at the Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds.
This is a very popular festival in the state.Since this is a glow and laser show, the event doesn’t kick off until 5pm each day.
Not only will you be able to see the balloons glow in the night sky, you can also opt for a ride as well.
And of course, they’ll have plenty of other fun entertainment including:
- Live music and a DJ
- Rides (including train rides!)
- Bounce houses
- Vendors with crafts and other retail items
- Lots of food options
What to Bring to Hot Air Balloon Festival
To have the most enjoyable time, you may to consider bringing some items that will make you more comfortable.
It’s definitely a balance between how much you want to carry and how much comfort you want.
Here is what is recommended to bring to a hot air balloon festival:
- Canopy or beach umbrella (not permitted at all festivals and size restrictions vary by festival)
- Lawn chairs
- Binoculars are great to see some of the balloons and people (and don’t forget binoculars for the kids too!)
- Small sunscreen
- Reusable water bottles (some festivals may require you to bring it in empty)
Good to Know Before You Go
There are some things you want to know about and keep in mind before heading to any hot air balloon festival.
First, not all items are permitted to be brought into all festivals. I highly recommend you check the festival’s website before heading out to see what is allowed.
Some festivals have security and will inspect bags and other storage that is brought into the festival.
Most festivals also do not permit outside food and drink to be brought in (with the occassional exception of a water bottle).
There are plenty of food options on-site (usually several food trucks are in attendance), however, if you don’t want to eat there, make sure to eat just before you go or have plans to eat right after.