Flag City BalloonFest is one of the most popular events in Hancock County and can seem overwhelming for first-time visitors. But don’t worry, we have you covered! See some of our tips to make your first trip to BalloonFest a success.
The Quick Facts
Flag City BalloonFest will take place August 11-13 in Emory Adams Park. The festival is completely free and hosts several fun events within BalloonFest. This year there are 42 balloons, including our Flag City Balloon, Independence. Independence is piloted by Phil Clinger, who’s father Dan was the founder of the festival. This festival does include a hot air balloon competition with pilots competing for national points as well as cash awards. There will be three competition flights where balloons will be aiming for targets located throughout Findlay. The best day to catch the competition action is Sunday morning! The festival is in its 18th year and continues to add more and more attractions each year. If you’re interested in volunteering at BalloonFest it isn’t too late, sign up online!
When to Watch
There are 5 opportunities over 3 days to catch the hot air balloons in the air. The balloons will be in the sky Friday, Saturday, and Sunday morning around 7 a.m. as well as Friday and Saturday evening around 6:30 p.m. If you’re looking to avoid the crowds then make sure to check out the morning flights. The calm of the morning, the absence of a crowd, and the sun coming over Emory Adams Park make it a beautiful site. Balloons will be launching from Emory Adams both flights on Friday and will be flying into Emory Adams on Saturday and Sunday. If you’re looking for the best time to see a hot air balloon competition then you should attend Sunday morning’s flight into Emory Adams.
The Balloon Illumination, called the Glow, take place on Friday and Saturday night once it gets dark, usually around 9 p.m. and can be seen at Emory Adams Park. One of the most important things to remember when attending BalloonFest is that balloon launches and the times of the flights are totally dependent on the weather. Even if it is a beautiful day on the ground, the wind and conditions in the sky could be different. But even in case the weather throws a wrench in your plans there is still plenty to do at BalloonFest!
What to Do
You may come for the balloons but the events, vendors, and activities are why you should stay! On Friday and Saturday you will want to bring your appetite and take advantage of all the food vendors that will be on site. There will also be pony rides, Kids Fair with inflatables and carnival-type games, knocker ball, radio controlled airplanes, helicopter ride and live music at the beer garden each day. Friday will feature an opening ceremony with Miss Ohio singing the National Anthem, and she will be signing autographs as well. Friday will also have a fireworks display after the Glow, usually around 10 p.m. Saturday will kick off with a 5K at 8 a.m., a vintage baseball game beginning at 11 a.m., a car and motorcycle show, and an opportunity to meet the balloon pilots and have them sign your free souvenir program! Rounding out the weekend on Sunday morning there will be a free pancake breakfast at 6:30 and a sunrise church service at 7:30 a.m.
Where to Park
When an event is as large as Flag City BalloonFest is in town traffic and parking can be difficult – but keep calm and park on! BalloonFest has four large areas for parking around Emory Adams Park, all of BalloonFest’s official parking is free. If you decide to park on the street and walk to Emory Adams please respect the homeowner’s lawn and space!
What to Bring
While BalloonFest is a free event, you will still want to have some cash on hand for food and tickets for special games and rides in the Kids Zone. While there is some seating available, you may want to bring lawn chairs or a blanket, especially if you plan on staying for the Glow or fireworks. And don’t forget a jacket! The temperatures can dip when the sun goes down!
Want to go for a Balloon ride?
There is one way to guarantee to make your Flag City BalloonFest experience a memorable one – go up in a balloon! There are still a few full rides available for this weekend and you can sign up for one online. If a full balloon ride isn’t quite for you then you can still opt for a tethered ride. Tethered rides are just $20, last only a few minutes, and do not accept reservations. You can learn more about balloon rides on BalloonFest’s website.
Need more information?
Make sure to check out Flag City BalloonFest’s website for more information about vendors, events, and the different balloons that will be at this year’s festival. During the weekend make sure to check their facebook page as it will be updating and flight delays or cancellations. Even if the balloon flights are delayed or cancelled don’t let that keep you away! There is plenty of fun to be had throughout the weekend.
When in town for BalloonFest make sure to take advantage of all that our area has to offer, including great dining options and shopping! Plus, there are plenty of other events to keep you busy this weekend! From Rally in the Alley and Arlington Village Fest to train rides at Northwest Ohio Railroad Preservation, Inc. and events at the parks, check out our event calendar to see what is going on!