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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.

Step 1. Learn the Basics

Flag City BalloonFest will take place August 12-14 in Emory Adams Park.  The festival is completely free and hosts several fun events within BalloonFest.  This year there are 50 (!!) balloons, including the Flag City Balloon, Liberty.  Liberty flies in festivals all around the Midwest by Phil Clinger, who’s father Dan was the founder of the festival 20 years ago.  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.

Our balloon, Liberty, made its debut in 2018. If you look up while it is passing over you will see many Findlay landmarks!

Step 2. Know the Balloon Schedule

Flag City BalloonFest takes place over three days.  Friday activities start around 4 p.m. and end with fireworks!  Saturday kicks off with an early-morning flight and the fun goes ALL day long.  Sunday you won’t want to miss the flights take off one more time before they competition winners are announced and the pilots head home.

Of course, if you’re attending BalloonFest you want to see balloons!  Weather permitting, the balloons will fly 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 Saturday evening and will be flying into Emory Adams on Saturday and Sunday mornings.  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.

Know when the balloons will take the sky, have your cameras ready, and enjoy!

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.  For the best seats in the house purchase tickets to the Glow Encounter, offering up a up close and personal (and memorable) experience.  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!  Check Flag City BalloonFest’s Facebook page for the most up-to-date details on flights!

The Glow is already a memorable event, but add in the new-this-year Glow Encounter and you can get up close and personal to the balloons as they illuminate!

Step 3. Check out all the activities

You may come for the balloons but the events, vendors, and activities are why you should stay!  Throughout the day there are activities and events that the entire family will enjoy.  There is a kids zone with inflatables and carnival games, petting zoo, pony rides, live music, fireworks on Friday evening, helicopter rides, car show, craft and art fair, and so much more.  While the balloons bookend the day’s activities, there is an entire day of fun awaiting you and your family.

Come for the balloons, stay for the fun on the ground!

Want to go up in a balloon?  Full rides need to be purchased in the months leading up to the event, however tethered rides do not require reservations and are are just $20 (and they keep you a little closer to the ground!)

Take a Bird’s Eye Balloon Ride’s view of Findlay by booking your own hot air balloon flight!

Step 4. Attend and Have a Great Time!

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 large areas for parking available!  There is free parking on the south side of Emory Adams Park, and $10 paid parking on the north side.  If you decide to park on the street and walk to Emory Adams please respect the homeowners’ lawns and space!

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!

We hope you have a great time at this year’s Flag City BalloonFest!

For updates on the balloon flights, especially if the weather isn’t cooperating, go to Flag City BalloonFest’s social media.  Make sure you share photos of your time at BalloonFest using #VisitFindlay and let us know which balloon is your family’s favorite!  Have a great time!

This blog post is written by Visit Findlay Community Relations and Development Manager Danielle Wilkin.  Danielle is a reality TV aficionado, frequent Downtown diner, and a busy mom!  That isn’t much, is it?  See more about Danielle and read more from her here!

This post was originally published on August 5, 2019 and was republished in 2022.

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