Fire dances and balloons float as you sit back on the lush green grass and take in the colorful sunset with giant lanterns (aka hot air balloons) in the sky at the 3rd annual Great Smoky Mountains Hot Air Balloon Festival in Townsend, Tennessee! Bring family, friends, and even your precious pups to this exciting and whimsical event in the Great Smoky Mountains on Saturday, August 17, 2019. Along with live music, family-friendly activities, local craft demos, plus a food truck court, beer tent, and wine tasting, pro balloonists will launch a brilliant show as their hot air balloons light up the evening sky. You won’t want to miss this exciting and unique event, so book your cabin rental and prepare for an enchanting evening in the Smokies!
Hot Air Balloon Experience
Everyone settles into the soft grass, picnic blankets, and lawn seats as a gentle quiet washes over the crowd when the balloons begin to light and take flight, swiftly followed by elevated oohs and aahs. Painting the twilight sky with a rainbow of color, pro balloonists keep the hot air balloons tethered to the ground so everyone can see them clearly in a lantern display, an impressive beauty best cherished in person. Lift your child on your shoulders, steal a sweet kiss from your spouse, and side hug your bestie as you enjoy this wonderful evening show together.
How long is the show?
The show will begin around 8:00 p.m., and the massive balloons will remain lit for about 1 hour (ending around 9:30 p.m.) for everyone’s enjoyment, so feel free to take fun videos, family photos, and stunning selfies. Tip: send in your best photo of the event, and it could be used in next year’s marketing, how cool!
What if the weather is poor?
Should the weather be too risky for the hot air balloons to float, a candlestick glow performance will take its place, which means the fires will be lit without the balloons overhead. The show must go on — safely!
Can I go for a ride?!
Yes! Tethered rides — 30 feet in the air— lasting 5-7 minutes will be available (weather permitting) for those 8+ years of age from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at $20 per person. While you can’t choose which balloon to ride, the experience will be memorable regardless!
Food & Fun
Leading up to the brilliant show, fun activities, food trucks, and live music will keep everyone entertained, fed, and happy. All ages are welcome to play family-friendly games and harken to tail-feather-shaking beats! This year’s activities (from 3:00 – 9:00 p.m.) include:
- Face Painting
- Dr. Magical Balloons
- Rock Wall
- Water Wars (Water Balloon)
- Trackless Train
- Crafting Demos
And of course, no hot air balloon event would be complete without tasty grub, beer, and wine! Head to the food truck court for snacks and meals, the beer tent for a cold local craft to pair with the summer scenery, and the wine garden for fruity tastings and a commemorative wine glass (only $10). Plus, when you purchase a bottle or case of wine, you’ll receive a 6-comparment wine tote!
Parking + Tickets
Get your parking tickets (non-refundable) for the 2019 Great Smoky Mountains Hot Air Balloon Festival online for $20 or on the day of the event for $25. The parking area will open at 2:30 p.m., so arrive early for the best spot at the Townsend Visitor Center! And while handicap parking won’t be available, there will be shuttles so you don’t have to worry.
Townsend Visitor Center
7906 East Lamar Alexander Parkway
Townsend, TN 37882
Where to Stay
Feel like a hot air balloon high in the sky with breathtaking mountain views only a glance away from your cabin rental in the Great Smoky Mountains! Cabins for YOU has top-notch choices of all shapes and sizes with homey conveniences and bonus amenities to boot in nearby Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. Whether you’re bringing your closest friends or hosting a family reunion around the hot air balloon festival, we have the perfect cabin to suit your needs. Splash in the private indoor pool, watch movies in the home theater, snooze in a king-size bed, whip up feasts in the fully equipped kitchen, post trip videos with complimentary Wi-Fi, and soak in the steamy hot tub outdoors — decision’s up to YOU! Fill out our Options for YOU form or give us a call at 1.800.684.7865 today before the balloon festival floats away…
Play and unwind as you experience the enchantment of the 2019 Great Smoky Mountains Hot Air Balloon Festival and the excitement of your cabin retreat!