The event opens its doors on Friday at 4 p.m. And if you’re an early bird, you can start your day watching the balloon activities at sunrise. We look forward to the launch (weather permitting) as 40 balloons rise in the Plano skies. After the sun sets (around 8 p.m.) on Friday and Saturday, you can watch them light up in the famous Balloon Glow—a family favorite for us with picture perfect Insta-worthy moments!
Of course, the biggest draw for the festival is the enchanting and colorful hot air balloons. Each year we’re treated to balloons of all types including those with special shapes. This year’s featured special shapes include fun characters like Annie the Lady Bug, Betty Jean the Butterfly, SpyderPig and the always popular, High Jack.
Come hungry as there are plenty of options. In previous years, the kids have enjoyed curly fries, funnel cakes and fresh-squeezed lemonade, while our party of parents loved the Cuban sandwiches, Philly cheese steak and turkey legs—washed down with tons of beer and wine options.
RIDES AND ATTRACTIONS
Kids will love the interactive inflatable rides in the Central Market Kids Fun Zone and can burn out their energy by racing through the obstacle courses, zipping down the massive slides, riding the pirate ship or the berry-go-round. And for the little ones, be sure to check out the Toddler Zone for fun inflatables that are just their size. Children can also channel their creativity by engaging in the many hands-on art activities or get their face painted. Another favorite is the Plano Symphony Orchestra Instrument Area where they can explore the art of music.
This year, we’ll be taking advantage of the new tethered rides: an exciting opportunity to hop on a balloon as it lifts off the ground, hovering 20-30 feet above the ground for several minutes. They will be offered (weather permitting) on a first come, first serve basis and at the individual pilot’s discretion. Tickets for the tethered rides can be purchased onsite and are cash only. Adults are $25 and children (6-12 years) are $15. For more information, click here.
If you love live music, local bands will keep you on your toes, playing songs you know and love each night. It’s a great opportunity to dance and enjoy the Texas nights.
From experience, here are some practical tips you can follow. It’s hot out there, so don’t forget to pack your sunscreen and bug spray. Leave your Pets at home as it can be noisy and the balloons firing up can be scary. Although coolers are permitted, there are tons of food and drink options available, so you’re encouraged to support local vendors. I highly recommend bringing outdoor chairs, blankets and mats to sit on to enjoy plenty of great viewpoints. Parking for the festival ranges from $5 to 10, depending on how far you want to walk.
Ready for fun? You can pre purchase your tickets or buy them at the door.Ticket prices are $5 per person/$1 off for Seniors 65 and older and kids under 36 inches are free. Plano Moms: All Plano ISD elementary students will get a complimentary ticket to the festival on Friday evening, so check those backpacks!