National Balloon Classic

National Balloon Classic
The National Balloon Classic is an annual hot air balloon festival held in the city of Indianola, Iowa. Founded in 1969, it is one of the longest-running and most famous balloon-related events in the United States.

The state of Iowa is the birthplace of Ed Yost, the inventor of the modern hot air balloon. Yost flew the first prototype of the modern hot air balloon in 1955 and made the first-ever free flight in 1960. He helped found the Balloon Federation of America and was one of the organizers of the first U.S. National Ballooning Championship in Indianola. Today, Indianola is renowned as the home of the National Balloon Museum and the National Balloon Classic festival.

The National Balloon Classic is a 9-day hot air balloon event that runs over the first week of August. It features up to 100 balloons from all over the country, including special shape balloons. Spectacular balloon flights are the main highlight of the event. They include mass ascensions and competition flights. Balloons take off every morning and every evening, weather permitting.

Like most other hot air balloon festivals, the National Balloon Classic hosts spectacular Night Glows. Every night, inflated balloons light up the dark sky, dazzling everyone with their gorgeous glow. The excitement culminates during Nite Glow Extravaganza, a one-of-a-kind event you don’t want to miss.

Alongside balloon flights and Night Glows, the program of the festival includes other events and activities such as Dawn Patrol, spectacular fireworks shows, the traditional Wacky Classic Parade that marches through the streets of Indianola, skydiving shows, 5K Off-Road Balloon Challenge, the crowning of the Balloon Queen, live performances, food and merchandise vendors, and more.

During the festival, attendees can book balloon rides. They can be taken every morning or evening weather permitting. The organizers recommend that you schedule your reservation in advance because spots fill quickly. Don’t miss your chance to get a unique and unforgettable experience!

National Balloon Classic

Photo: Don McLaughlin




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