Plano Balloon Festival

Plano Balloon Festival
The Plano Balloon Festival is an annual hot air balloon festival that takes place in the city of Plano, Texas, United States. With an annual attendance of more than 90,000 people, it is one of the largest celebrations in Plano, as well as one of major ballooning events in the United States.

Plano is located twenty miles northeast of downtown Dallas, it is a part of the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area. The city is an affluent hub for many corporate headquarters, including major corporation such as Dell Services, Dr Pepper Snapple Group, FedEx Office, Pizza Hut, and others. Plano is also known for hosting the annual hot air balloon festival that attracts thousands of visitors from all over Texas and out of state.

The Plano Balloon Festival was founded in 1980. Over the years, it has grown into a three-day event held every September that features over 40 balloons from different states, including special shape balloons. For example, special shapes at the 2016 festival included Baby Dino, Betty Jean the Butterfly, Bimbo Bear, Joelly the Baby Bee, Purple People Eater, and more. The festival is an important fundraiser for local non-profit organizations.

The festival program is based on balloon events such as balloon launches, balloon glows, and balloon fly-in competitions. Balloon launches take place in the morning and in the evening, weather permitting. Brightly colored balloons lift off from the festival site and float in the sky, carried by the wind to their destination. During the balloon fly-in competition, pilots try to drop bean bags on the target laid out on the festival grounds. Finally, a balloon glow is a spectacular event featuring hot air balloons illuminated from the inside with their burners.

Alongside balloon events, the schedule includes various entertainment for attendees of all ages, including skydiving displays, live music, fireworks, Kids Corner, dance troupes, martial art teams, and more. Tethered balloon rides are available for an additional fee. The festival also hosts four races: half marathon, relay, 5K and 1K.

Plano Balloon Festival

Photo: Larry Petterborg




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