Centralia Balloon Festival

Centralia Balloon Festival
Photo: balloon-fest.com
Hot air balloon festivals are probably almost as popular in the United States as Renaissance fairs, and most states host at least one. The country’s largest ballooning event is the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, but there also are plenty of smaller festivals for those who can’t come to New Mexico or don’t like big crowds. For example, Illinois hosts the annual Centralia Balloon Festival.

Centralia is a relatively small city in the state of Illinois. It is known for hosting an annual hot air balloon festival founded in 1990. The event is presented by the Greater Centralia Chamber of Commerce. It is held every summer, running over a weekend in August. Held in Foundation Park, it features about 40 balloons from all over the country and attracts around 40,000 attendees each year.

What does the Centralia Balloon Festival has to offer? Its program includes hot air balloon races, glows and other balloon-related events, performances on the main stage on Friday and Saturday night, entertainment throughout the day, a car show, a craft fair, a children’s activity area, cardboard boat races, spectacular firework displays, food and merchandise vendors, and more.

While some hot air balloon festivals host only balloon launches, the Centralia Balloon Festival features balloon races. They take place every morning at around 6 am and in the evening on the final day. Night glows typically begin at 7.30 pm. A night glow is an event where tethered balloons glow like huge lanterns or light bulbs thanks to propane burners and perform a choreographed routine to the music.

The Centralia Balloon Festival also offers tethered balloon rides ($10 for adults and $5 for children). Note that ballooning is a weather-sensitive activity, so the schedule of the festival is subject to change depending on weather conditions.

On-site entertainment at the festival includes music performances, clowns and comedians, various contests, special activities for children, martial arts demonstrations, and more. There’s always something going on throughout the day even when the balloons aren’t in the sky.

Centralia Balloon Festival

Photo: Luciana Seymour




Related Articles