The 14th Annual Gulf Coast Hot Air Balloon Festival will take to the skies and fields of Foley on May 4 and 5, 2018, wowing crowds who come to experience the old-world magic of hot air ballooning. Local balloon pilots, as well as teams from across the U.S., gather together to put on a show and impress your family.
The festival takes place at the Foley Soccer Complex, and the event is open to the public from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday.
Balloons are visible at dusk and dawn, weather permitting. Admission is free, and paid parking is available onsite until 8 p.m. Or use the shuttle service provided from nearby Tanger Outlets. Shuttle rides will run from 2 p.m. until 10 p.m. each night; tickets are $1 for adults, and kids under 12 can ride free.
Foley resident Blaine Kaiser told us, “Last year was my first time attending. The atmosphere was so pleasant. The sound of the rides and children having fun was refreshing. The hot air balloons themselves were spectacular, giving an inner sense of weightlessness. I would love to return again this year.”
If you arrive for the balloon glow, one of the first things you’ll notice are the tall, billowing balloons scattered around the field like oversized paper lanterns. A tower of flame keeps the balloon vibrantly colored and afloat, while the basket rests on the ground. Many people use this as an opportunity for a meet-and-greet with the pilots. Tethered rides into the sky are available for purchase, weather permitting.
This is a kid-friendly event with entertainment provided Friday and Saturday night. There will be a carnival onsite, a K9 dog show, crafts and food. It’s also a great time to score some unique souvenirs, including hot air balloon-themed merchandise from a variety of artists and vendors. You may also notice a fun assortment of LED and fiber optic children’s toys being sold and distributed.
This event really is about light and flight, so bring your family to witness a special breed of pilot who is keeping the historic art of hot air ballooning alive.