Connecticut's Skyline Spectacles: Unmissable Hot Air Balloon Festivals Revealed

Photo by Anotia Wang


Even in the small state of Connecticut, you can experience the unique wonder of a hot air balloon festival. 

From tethered rides to beautiful night glow and laser shows, Connecticut’s hot air balloon festivals provide a great way for hot air balloon enthusiasts and families looking for a new experience alike to come together and appreciate the beauty of this unique form of flight.

Though there are currently only two annual hot air balloon festivals in the third smallest state in the country, both offer everything a festivalgoer could possibly want; sunset balloon shows, tasty treats from local food vendors, and plenty of family-friendly entertainment and events.

Check out these two spectacular hot air balloon festivals in the beautiful state of Connecticut.

Plainville Fire Company Hot Air Balloon Festival

Dates: TBD August 2024

Location: Norton Park, Plainville, Connecticut

Cost: Free

The Plainville Fire Company Hot Air Balloon Festival is Connecticut’s most popular and well-known hot air balloon festival, occurring every August. The best part? It’s totally free! 

Offering sunset hot air balloon displays against the picturesque backdrop of Norton Park in Plainville, Connecticut, this festival promises a weekend of enchanting sights and family-friendly fun completely free of charge. 

Aside from the beautiful display of incredible hot air balloons, attendees can enjoy a wide array of live entertainment including bands, musicians, magicians, kids shows, bounce castles/houses, and more. The festival will also feature independent vendors selling arts and crafts as well as businesses, plus local restaurants and food vendors.

There’s even a car show and a 50/50 raffle that visitors can participate in that will benefit the fire company’s Memorial Scholarship Fund for students.

Whether you go for the beautiful hot air balloon shows, the lively entertainment, the car show, or the tasty food from local vendors, you won’t want to miss this beloved community event.

Photo by Rich Martello

Guilford Balloon Glow & Laser Show

Dates: August 16th - 17th, 2024

Location: The Guilford Fairgrounds

Cost: $10-$75 depending on age of person and 1-day or 3-day pass

The Guilford Balloon Glow & Laser Show is a unique and captivating experience held at the Guilford Fairgrounds on August 16th - 17th, 2024. Tickets range in price:

  • $10 for child admission one day only
  • $120 for adult admission one day only
  • $14 for 2-day pass, child admission
  • $35 for 2-day pass, adult admission
  • $25 for a tethered hot air balloon ride
  • $75 for a hot air balloon ride fast pass to cut the lines
  • Free for kids 5 and under
  • $40 for VIP parking (regular parking is free)

This festival combines the beauty of hot air balloons with modern technology with truly enchanting laser light displays that illuminate the night sky. Around 9pm, the Hot Air Balloon Glow & Laser Show is a grand finale that lights up the sky. This mesmerizing display showcases beautiful hot air balloons glowing like lanterns in the night sky accompanied by music and laser lights.

There are also plenty of options to keep the kids entertained. The Kids Zone is packed with fun activities like train rides, bounce houses, rock climbing walls, and much more. 

There will also be a mix of DJ sets and live performances from a diverse lineup of artists to keep music lovers of all ages thoroughly entertained.

From up-close views of hot air balloons to bucket-list worthy tethered balloon rides and an exciting laser show, the Guilford Balloon Glow promises an unforgettable weekend of wonder and entertainment for the whole family.

Photo by Chaddix


What Connecticut lacks in number of hot air balloon events it makes up for in high-quality, unique experiences. Whether you go to the Guilford Balloon Glow & Laser Show, the Plainville Fire Company Hot Air Balloon Festival, or both, you’re sure to create memories with your loved ones at these popular Connecticut hot air balloon events.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the biggest hot air balloon festival held?

The biggest hot air balloon festival in the US is the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta held annually in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Are hot air balloon rides worth it?

The sights combined with the unique feeling of floating through the open air make hot air balloon rides a once-in-a-lifetime experience that most passengers feel is worth it for the price.

Do you feel wind in a hot air balloon ride?

Aside from brief moments where the hot air balloon is ascending and descending, passengers typically feel no wind while on a hot air balloon ride.

How many people can a hot air balloon carry?

A hot air balloon can typically carry 1 pilot and 2 passengers, though this number can vary depending on the size of the hot air balloon and basket.