Fall is one of the most beautiful times of year to spend some time taking a scenic drive or a mini road trip. The leaves are turning stunning shades of red, orange and gold and the weather is still nice – warm sun with a brisk autumn breeze. A great destination for fall road trips is hot air balloon festivals. I had always assumed that balloon festivals occurred most often in spring and summer, but after researching a bit, I have learned that, in fact, there are many balloon festivals that take place in the fall. Here are festivals you could check out in the upcoming months.
Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta
The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is held the first weekend in October in New Mexico and is the largest hot air balloon festival in the world. It began in 1972 with 13 balloons and today features 700 balloons from 28+ different countries making it truly an international affair.
Owl-O-Ween Hot Air Balloon Festival
The Owl-O-Ween Hot Air Balloon Festival, which takes place in Kennesaw, Georgia on the fourth weekend in October, is billed as “Atlanta’s only hot air balloon festival and its largest costume party”. This festival is a two-day, family friendly event that includes balloon glows, trick-or-treating, balloon rides, live music and an artist market.
Kalamazoo Balloon Fest
Kalamazoo, Michigan also hosts an annual festival the last weekend in October. The Kalamazoo Balloon Fest is Michigan’s largest balloon festival and began in 2013. It currently features 30 balloons and a glow party once the sun goes own. This festival is family-friendly and has free admission.
Arkansas Valley Balloon Festival
Here in Colorado we have some great summer balloon festivals in the mountains but we also have festivals in the fall out on the eastern plains. The Arkansas Valley Balloon Festival takes place the first weekend in November in the town of Rocky Ford. This three-day event draws balloonists from around the state and also includes an art show and a photo contest.
Balloons & Tunes
If you are looking for some music with your balloon festival then the aptly named Balloons & Tunes festival in Artesia, New Mexico is a good bet. It takes place the first weekend in November, features 30 balloons and coincides with a local bluegrass festival.
Colorado River Crossing Balloon Fest
The Colorado River Crossing Balloon Fest in Yuma, Arizona was begun in 1990 and showcases 35 hot air balloons from the West and Southwest. This festival takes place on the third weekend in November and is staged near the Colorado River and Sonoran Desert. The Desert Balloon Glow, which takes place on Saturday night, is the highlight of the festival.
Though the brisk autumn days provide the perfect weather for daytime viewing of the balloons, things can get a bit chilly at night. You might just need a blanket or quilt to wrap up in while watching a Balloon Glow Fest so why not make a hot air balloon quilt just for the outing? Quiltmaker Magazine has two patterns available for just such an occasion.
Jewels of the Wind is a throw-sized quilt that would be perfect to snuggle up in. This quilt consists of nine hot air balloons and a smattering of pinwheels floating through a bright, blue sky. It would be fun use this pattern as a starting point and then to attend a balloon festival, take pictures of your favorite balloons and create your own appliques of your favorite balloons to add to this quilt top.
If you are bringing small kids along on your balloon adventure, Quiltmaker offers a free Project Linus hot air balloon pattern called Up, Up and Away. Designed by Diane Harris, this quilt is constructed using foundation piecing and features 12 hot air balloons in a range of fun colors.
So plan your next fall adventure with hot air balloons in mind and take along a quilt to bundle up in.
Travel safe and quilt happy