Summer is finally here, and it’s time to witness the sky come alive with a burst of colors. Hot air balloon festivals are the ultimate celebration of air-bound fun and adventure. These events bring together a fleet of hot air balloons, turning the atmosphere into a whimsical wonderland. With balloons of all shapes, sizes, and designs, it’s like stepping into a dreamland where gravity takes a backseat. Whether you’re a thrill-seeker, a romantic, or just someone looking for an unforgettable experience, balloon festivals offer a one-of-a-kind experience that will leave you in awe.

There’s something undeniably magical about hot air balloon rides that keeps people coming back for more. It’s like stepping into a fairytale where you leave the ground behind and float effortlessly among the clouds. People flock to hot air balloon rides because they crave that sense of freedom and joy that can only be found high up in the sky.

The magic of a hot air balloon festival.

If you’re in Michigan during the summer months, you’re in luck. There are numerous hot-air balloon festivals taking place throughout the state. They are often accompanied by lively festivities on the ground, with food vendors, live music, and entertainment creating a festive atmosphere for visitors to enjoy. It’s a chance to indulge in local food and browse through arts and crafts stalls.

During the festival, spectators have the opportunity to witness the balloons being prepared for flight, from the moment they are laid out on the ground to the mesmerizing inflation process. The sound of burners firing up adds to the anticipation as the balloons slowly come to life.

If you’re eager to witness the beauty of these floating marvels up close or even take a thrilling hot-air balloon ride, the first step is to find out where to go. Check out these six amazing places where you can hop on a hot air balloon ride.


  • Michigan Challenge Balloonfest

    The annual Michigan Challenge Festival taking place this June, has been held at Howell High School since 1984. One of the festival’s standout attractions is the mesmerizing night balloon glow event. It offers plenty of entertainment, from live music performances to thrilling skydiving jumps and a carnival.

    Beautiful Hot Air Balloon against a deep blue sky

    Mirexon/ Getty Images

  • Jackson Hot Air Jubilee

    One of the longest-running ballooning events in Michigan is held at Ella Sharp Park in Jackson. This event has been attracting thousands of visitors each year since 1983. Visitors can watch over two dozen balloons take to the skies, offering thrilling rides and daily entertainment throughout the festival. They also have a Balloon Night Glow at Dusk, a mesmerizing spectacle where all the balloons are tethered and light up the area. The festival is free, taking place from July 21 to July 24.

    three multicolored hot air balloons in the blue sky

    Daniel Rochon/ Getty Images

  • Balloons Over Bellaire

    More than a dozen hot air balloonists gather at Shanty Creek and Summit Mountain in Bellaire. Visitors can witness the balloon launches over the stunning Torch Lake. This event is free. While you’re not busy admiring the balloons, take full advantage of all that Shanty Creek offers. Tee off at their fantastic golf courses, explore the scenic hiking and biking trails, or even enjoy boating on Lake Bellaire. The event takes place on August 25 and wraps up on August 26.

    Two beautiful hot air balloons ready to ascend

    RicardoHamdenCT/ Getty Images

  • Wayland BalloonFest

    Newer in the hot air balloon festival scene, this festival has become a huge hit. In 2021, it had over 4,000 people and featured nearly a dozen hot air balloons. From local vendors and live music to a balloon glow, balloon flights, a kid’s carnival, and a car show, there’s something for everyone in the family to enjoy. Later in the summer check out this event happening September 8 through 9 at Calkins Field in Wayland.

    Hot Air Balloons fly over the city

    Different_Brian/ Getty Images

  • Midland Area River Days & Balloon Festival

    This annual event is on the banks of the Tittabawassee River. It’s a highlight of Midland’s River Days that kicks off with a night glow along Main Street, followed by a dance party. Day two of the event features a colorful fleet of hot air balloons that take off from various spots around Midland. Past festivals have featured their “Run the River” 5K, a craft beer and wine tent, bungee jumping, ziplining, and a 3D climbing wall. Plus, there will be live music and vendors. Younger festival-goers will find a host of activities tailored just for them, including painting and face painting. Experience this festival from August 3 through August 4.

    Hot air ballon on the blue sky

    totophotos/ Getty Images

  • Metamora Country Days & Hot Air Balloon Festival

    Nestled in the heart of Lapeer County, this event attracts thousands of visitors each year. It offers local food, crafts, a parade, and the launch of nearly two dozen balloons. For the adults, there’s a lively beer tent serving refreshing beverages throughout both days of the festival. Kids, on the other hand, will have a blast with inflatables, a bounce house, and treats like ice cream sundaes. Plus, the event will wrap up with a fireworks display. Metamora Country Days and Hot Air Balloon Festival is set for August 25 and 26.

    Colorful hot air balloons flying in the blue sky with white clouds

    MariuszBlach/ Getty Images

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