There is something magical about watching a brilliantly colored hot air balloon float quietly past the clouds. To see one — or more — glowing in the night sky, is extraordinary. East Tennesseans can see this spectacle up close thanks to three area hot air balloon festivals. The Great Smoky Mountains Hot Air Balloon Festival, the Monroe Life Balloon Festival and Lakeside of the Smokies Balloonfest take place each year beginning in August.
If you haven’t been yet, this is your sign to go! Not only will you be able to witness these massive balloons inflating, but you also could take a tethered — or untethered — ride. Keep in mind, hot air balloons are quite loud, and you can feel the heat from the burner while riding in the basket. A balloon ride may not be suitable for all children. If you plan to skip a ride, you’re in luck. All three festivals offer more than just hot air balloons. There are special activities for children, food trucks, music and more. Whether you decide to keep your feet on the ground or go up, up and away, it’s a special experience worth sharing with your family!
Saturday, August 19th
Townsend Visitor Center
7906 E. Lamar Alexander Parkway
Townsend, TN 37882
Tickets: $5.00-$175.00, Kids 10 & Under Free Admission, Tethered Rides $25.00
Get ready to see the Smokies glow! Watch the balloons light up the night sky…you can even go on a tethered ride. There will be a children’s area with activities including crafts, games and more. Vendors will be offering unique homemade items and food trucks will also be on hand. Live music will be the backdrop to an amazing sunset and sky filled with hot air balloons!
Saturday, Sept. 2nd-Sunday, Sept. 3rd
Sequoyah Birthplace Museum
Vonore, TN 37885
Tickets: $10.00 Admission, Kids 4 & Under Free, Tethered Rides $20.00
This marks the 10th year of the biggest balloon festival in our region. Organizers say it’s going to be bigger than ever! There will be a Kids Zone with inflatables. Each night will end with a balloon glow, as the balloons light up in time to music, creating a beautiful display. Several food trucks will be on hand as well as craft and vendor booths.
Saturday, Oct. 28th-Sunday, Oct. 29th
295 W. Dumplin Valley Road
Dandridge, TN 37725
Tickets: $5.00-$150.00, Children 3 & Under Free, Tethered Rides $20.00
Lakeside of the Smokies Balloonfest will feature live entertainment, the Nine Lakes Wine Garden, food truck courts, kids fair, craft vendors, and more! Tethered rides will be offered. No reservations are required, but the rides are cash-only. Untethered rides are $350.00 and must be reserved in advance.