Balloons Over Bay Harbor
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13 Hot Air Balloon Festivals in Michigan [MOST COMPLETE LIST]

If you’re looking for something to do this summer that’s equal parts fun and awe-inspiring, then you absolutely must check out one of these hot air balloon festivals in Michigan.

You may not know, but Michigan has more than a dozen balloon festivals during the summer months and each of them promises fun, hot air balloons, and oodles of color. There’s something that’s both peaceful and amazing about seeing a hot air balloon in flight, soaring majestically as its colors pop on a warm summer day.

Jackson Hot Air Jubilee - Jackson, Michigan - Hot Air Balloon Festivals
Jackson Hot Air Jubilee | photo via Ashley Pichea

So if you want to see these beauties up close, and perhaps even enjoy hot air balloon rides in Michigan, then browse our list for “hot air balloon festivals near me” across Michigan’s Lower Peninsula.

Nashville Michigan Hot Air Balloon Festival

May

Nearly a dozen balloon pilots are featured at this festival, and they’re all experienced pilots with balloons with themes based on their interests, including the Maize and Blue of the University of Michigan and Pirates of the Caribbean.

Visitors can go on tethered hot air balloon rides, take part in the Balloon Boogie 5K Run/Walk, tour a classic car show, participate in a cornhole tournament, and much more.

There’s also an evening glow where visitors can see all these wonderful balloons lit up against the night sky in the balloon field.

Frankenmuth Balloons Over Bavaria

May

There is always plenty to do in Michigan’s Little Bavaria, but this is undoubtedly one of the highlights of the spring season. This annual celebration features morning and evening lift-offs with nightly balloon glows as well.

While there are always lots of balloons, there is plenty of free family fun too. Believe it or not, there are actually more than two dozen fun dog events during the Frankenmuth Dog Bowl, including Weiner dog races, sheep herding demonstrations, a parade, and disc competitions.

All of the festivities take place near the River Place Shops and along Weiss Street, and there’s plenty of room for family, friends, and four-legged companions.

Frankenmuth Balloons Over Bavaria
Frankenmuth Balloons Over Bavaria

Carson City Frontier Days

June

This annual event in Carson City has been going 50 years strong and always offers visitors a good time. Since the city of Carson City was named after Carson City, Nevada, the festival took on a western theme.

From the very beginning, Frontier Days have been packed with activities, including carnival rides, parades, rodeos, and Country Western shows. For almost 20 years, hot air balloons have played a part in the festivities too.

More than a dozen hot air balloons are part of the festivities and there are lots of activities, including balloon glows, tethered balloon rides, and evening balloon flights.

The festival kicks things up a notch with a balloon shootout, where pilots try to land their balloons close to a target and then drop baggies closest to those targets.

Jackson Hot Air Jubilee - Jackson, Michigan - Hot Air Balloon Festivals
Jackson Hot Air Jubilee | photo via Ashley Pichea

Michigan Challenge Balloonfest

June

This annual June festival on the grounds of Howell High School has been held since 1984. It promises fun for the whole family and is considered to be the state championship for hot air ballooning.

Visitors can gather to see a night balloon glow event, which is a must-see, as nearly two dozen balloons inflate on the launch field and glow against the summer sky. Visitors can also enjoy music, a carnival, skydiving jumps, and much more.

Michigan Challenge Balloonfest, Howell
Michigan Challenge Balloonfest | photo via Brittany Green

Hudsonville Balloon Days

June

Hosted at Unity Christian High School in Hudsonville, the Hudsonville Balloon Days festival will take place again this June. The two-day weekend event is full of balloon launches, food vendors, crafts, and live entertainment.

The festival is free to attend, thanks to the event sponsors, asking only for a donation for parking.

Battle Creek Field of Flight Balloon Festival & Air Show

June/July

This air show and hot air balloon festival in Michigan takes place at the Battle Creek Executive Airport over the 4th of July weekend and promises to rock your world if you attend.

The air show portion of the event features all kinds of dazzling action, including skywriting, and oftentimes, performances from the Air Force Thunderbirds.

Once nighttime comes, the action gets cranked up another notch with aerial launched fireworks, wingtip pro, and afterburners.

The balloon portion of the festival features more than three dozen pilots flying their balloons, paid passenger rides as well as awe-inspiring balloon illumes.

Jackson Hot Air Jubilee

July

This is one of the oldest ballooning events in the Mitten State and takes place at Ella Sharp Park in Jackson. The event dates back to 1983 and attracts thousands of visitors each year.

More than two dozen balloons offer rides and daily entertainment during the festival and the main attraction is the Balloon Night Glow at Dusk, where all of the balloons are tethered and light up the area.

The festival is free and offers visitors a lot of activities in addition to the balloons. These include live music, kite demonstrations, and a Kids’ Kingdom, where kids can go on carnival rides and play with remote-controlled airplanes, among other activities.

Jackson Hot Air Jubilee - Jackson, Michigan - Hot Air Balloon Festivals
Jackson Hot Air Jubilee | photo via Ashley Pichea

Metamora Country Days & Hot Air Balloon Festival

August

If you’re looking for the perfect small-town summer festival, this is one you don’t want to miss. This festival in Lapeer County draws thousands of visitors each year and offers local food, crafts, a parade, and the launch of nearly two dozen balloons.

The festival is capped off with a magnificent fireworks display. For the adults, there’s a beer tent during both days of the festival and for the kids, there are inflatables and a bounce house as well as ice cream sundaes, face painting, and twisted balloons.

Midland Area River Days & Balloon Festival

August

On the banks of the Tittabawassee River is this annual festival that’s packed full of family-friendly fun. The festival, which is part of Midland’s River Days, kicks off with a night glow along Main Street in Midland. There’s also a dance party afterward.

The next morning, colorful hot air balloons launch from various spots around Midland, and visitors can gather around the launch sites and landing sites to watch these colorful creations take off and land. Past festivals have included a Run the River 5K, a craft beer and wine tent, a bungee jumper, ziplining, and a 3D climbing wall.

There are also plenty of activities for younger visitors, including painting and face painting, as well as drinks and snacks. After soaking up the sounds of some live music, visitors can watch a mass air balloon launch from Chippewassee Park.

Midland Area River Days & Balloon Festival - Midland, Michigan - Hot Air Balloon Festivals
Midland Area River Days & Balloon Festival | photo via @wright.landscaping.midland

Balloons Over Bellaire

August

More than a dozen hot air balloonists descend upon Shanty Creek and the slopes of Summit Mountain in Bellaire. The balloon launches over Torch Lake are truly a sight to behold and really show off just how colorful the balloons are.

This is a free event, so grab your camera and come prepared to take pictures. Not only will you see the beauty of Northern Michigan, but, paired with colorful balloons, you’ll get pictures you won’t be able to get anywhere else, especially against the backdrops of Torch Lake and Lake Bellaire.

When you’re not watching the balloons, you can take advantage of all Shanty Creek offers, including golf, hiking and biking trails, and even boating.

Jackson Hot Air Jubilee - Jackson, Michigan - Hot Air Balloon Festivals
Jackson Hot Air Jubilee | photo via Ashley Pichea

Kalamazoo Balloon Fest at Gull Meadow Farms

August

This is one of Michigan’s newer balloon festivals. Visitors can feast their eyes on mesmerizing, kaleidoscopic balloons that fill the sky with color.

Kalamazoo’s Gull Meadow Farms hosts tons of giant balloons that take to the air and elicit smiles from visitors young and old.

The Michigan hot air balloon festival is free, but visitors are asked to give a small donation for parking, and farm activities are offered at affordable prices. In addition to a nightly balloon glow, and daily fly-ins, there’s a car show, live entertainment, and local vendors.

Balloons Over Bay Harbor

September

This is another one of the newer hot air balloon festivals in Michigan and takes place in the Village at Bay Harbor.

Visitors are advised to keep their eyes on the skies to see colorful balloons driven by some of the nation’s best pilots floating high above Little Traverse Bay. There are also breathtaking nightly glows and the reflections of those glows are reflected in Bay Harbor.

Past festivals have included balloon artists, local vendors, a 3K fun run, kids painting, and face painting, a dog show, and meet-and-greets with the balloon pilots and their crews.

So, if you’re looking for fun for the whole family, head to Bay Harbor and let the fun begin!

Balloons Over Bay Harbor - Bay Harbor, Michigan - Hot Air Balloon Festivals
Balloons Over Bay Harbor | photo via @sherikowalski

Wayland BalloonFest

September

This event in Wayland is perhaps the new kid on the block in terms of Michigan balloon festivals, but that doesn’t mean it’s not chock-full of fun. The first festival in 2021 drew more than 4,000 people and nearly a dozen hot air balloons.

Visitors will find there is no shortage of things to do as the festival has a whole lineup of activities planned that promises fun for the whole family. The activities include local vendors, live music, a balloon glow, balloon flights, a kids carnival, and a car show.

Jackson Hot Air Jubilee - Jackson, Michigan - Hot Air Balloon Festivals
Jackson Hot Air Jubilee | photo via Ashley Pichea

More Hot Air Balloon Fun in Michigan

While most hot air balloon festivals in Michigan don’t allow guests to take a hot air balloon ride during the festival, there are many Michigan hot air balloon companies that provide balloon rides and tours throughout the warmer months of the year.

Here are just a handful of hot air rides Michigan companies offer:

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