Frequently Asked Questions

How much does the race cost to watch?

Nothing! The Great Forest Park Balloon Race is free.

Am I allowed to bring grills?

No open flames are allowed in the park during the glow or race.

Am I allowed to bring pets?

Absolutely! There are even pet watering stations at the Purina Area on the northwest corner of the launch field.

What other activities will there be besides the race?

In addition to the actual balloon race, there is the Purina Children’s Entertainment area filled with pony rides, games, and other activities for kids. Also, an Entertainment Stage features a variety of local talent. Concession stands are available all around the race launch site. The Suburban Journals/Wehrenberg Photo contest provides an opportunity for the public to enter the balloon field and take pictures of their favorite balloons. Prizes will be awarded for the best photographs. Finally, the Skydiving Team performs shortly before the beginning of the race. Please see the schedule page for exact times.

What facilities are there for disabled people?

Special parking areas near the race field have been reserved for the disabled. Restrooms for the disabled are also available. Please look at the maps page for exact locations.

Do you know where the balloons are going to land?

Hot-air balloons follow the wind. We have no way of knowing which direction the ballons will travel until race day. Look at the forcast the day of the race to see which direction the winds are supposed to come from (and head towards).

Why is there no parking shuttle this year?

Because of the enormous crowd turnout we have at each race, the vehicle entrances to Forest Park are usually closed by 3pm. Therefore, it becomes too difficult for the shuttles to operate. Parking outside the park will be required if you arrive late and unfortunately, walking to the launch site is the only option.

Can I bring a cooler to the race and balloon glow?


Where do I submit my entries for the Photo Contest?

Please see our Photo Contest page for details.

September 16-17, 2016

Celebrating our 44th Year

The oldest and most well-attended
FREE Hot-Air Balloon Event in the World
View 2016
Official Program