Looking for a unique way to experience Virginia? Check out one of these hot air balloon festivals! From early spring to late fall, there’s a festival for every season.
Hot air balloon festivals are a great way to experience Virginia’s beautiful scenery from a unique perspective whether you want to ride in a hot air balloon or just watch from the ground. There are several festivals held throughout the state each year, so there’s sure to be one near you.
Kids will love watching the balloons inflate and take off, and you’ll enjoy floating peacefully through the air, taking in Virginia’s stunning landscapes from a bird’s eye view.
While the main attraction of these festivals is definitely the beautiful hot air balloons, they also have other attractions like live entertainment, a variety of food vendors, craft and retail vendor booths, balloon launches, children’s activities are more. If you’ve been wanting to add a hot air balloon ride to your bucket list, this is a great opportunity to do just that!
Here we cover the 3 best hot air balloon festivals in Virginia.
#1 Prince William County Hot Air Balloon Festival
October 2023 | Manassas VA | Website
Cost: $20 adults; $8 kids
Located at the Prince William County Fairgrounds, the Prince William County Hot Air Balloon Festival is an exciting event for the whole family.
Hot air balloons are not the only attraction, you will also want to come for:
- Kids Zone with games sunrise including moon bounces, rock walls, zip line and more
- Live music and DJ with a variety of artists
- Tons of craft, food and merchandise vendors
Tethered hot air balloon rides will be available for purchase at the event. The grand finale of the event will be a fantastic hot air balloon glow and laser show.
What’s also really nice is the free admission at this festival!
When you leave the festival, check out these 15 Fun Things to Do in Manassas Va while you’re there!
#2 Balloons Over Rockbridge
July 1-2, 2023 | Lexington, VA | Website
Balloons Over Rockbridge is a free hot air balloon and music festival.
Piloted balloon flights are available at 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.
Tethered flights will be available from 4 to 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
Besides the amazing sight of incredible hot air balloons taking flight, other events include meeting some balloon pilots and a variety of musical artists including 80’s music, rock, country, classic and more. This is a great place to come enjoy the beautiful rockbridge county skies.
Many people come to this festival from the beautiful Shenandoah Valley.
Afterwards hike the Chessie Nature Trail, take a guided tour of the Jackson House Museum, or visit Jordan’s Point Park.
#3 The Flying Circus Hot Air Balloon Festival
August 19-20, 2023 | Bealeton, VA | Website
If you’ve never been to The Flying Circus Hot Air Balloon Festival, this is a must see! This is the Flying Circus’ biggest event of the year and it doesn’t disappoint.
Each day they have an amazing airshow but get there early as this is a popular festival. At the airshow you can see:
- A wing walker do some amazing tricks
- A parachute jumper
- Vintage airplanes flying
- And more
Kids and adults love this show!
To make sure you enjoy the airshow and the hot balloons taking flight, make sure to plan for time before or after the airshow so you can do both.
Tethered and chartered hot air balloon flights will be sold.
If the festival isn’t enough and you want to have more fun in the area, check out C.M. Crockett Park, Germantown Lake, and the Capital Wing of the Commemorative Air Force
Nearby Mention: The Chesapeake Bay Balloon Festival
August 4-6, 2023 | Cordova, MD | Website
Cost: $20+ adults; $5 kids
The Chesapeake Bay Balloon Festival offers tethered balloon rides and flights so you can enjoy a unique experience.
Plus, they have other fun festival features including:
- Great local bands
- Balloon launches
- Kids activities
- Balloon glow
- Beer and wine tents
- Lots of vendors
While this is a paid event, it does benefit the Special Olympics.
Looking for more to do after the festival?
Head to the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, the playground at Cordova Community Park or The Family Affair Farm where you can pick your own berries.
What to Bring
When going to a hot air balloon festival, everyone will have the most fun if you are prepared with what you will need while you’re there.
As the festivals will be held outdoors, sunscreen, hats and even sunglasses are a must, especially on sunny days.
If rain is in the forecast, you may want to bring an umbrella or a light rain jacket.
While many food trucks or vendors are typically at the festivals, you may want to bring your own snacks and water.
A full list of items you may want to consider:
- Rain coat
- Folding chair
- Blanket for the grass
It’s also a good idea to dress in comfortable clothing and shoes, as you will likely be walking around a lot.
Tips for Attending Hot Air Balloon Festivals
- If you plan to arrive for a specific event at the festival, make sure to arrive well before you think you need to. Attendance lines and parking can be long depending on when you go.
- Make sure everyone wears comfortable walking shoes
- If you plan on going on a hot air balloon ride, make sure to bring a strap for your camera or get a case with a handle for your phone
- Check the events website or Facebook page before heading out if it looks like rain is in the forecast
While some Virginia hot air balloon festivals just offer a general admission ticket, some do offer a VIP experience which gives you more access and activities.
These are worth checking out if you’re looking for something extra special.
Visiting a Hot Air Balloon Festival in Virginia
The hot air balloon festivals in Virginia are a great way to spend a weekend. The events are family-friendly and offer something for everyone.
There is always a great turnout, and the views from the sky are simply breathtaking. If you’re looking for a fun weekend activity, kid activities, great food and more, be sure to check out one of Virginia’s hot air balloon festivals.
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