Up, Up, and Away: Discover the Top 3 Hot Air Balloon Festivals in Kansas City

Photo by Rafik Wahba


Known best for their recent Superbowl win (go Chiefs!) many don’t know that Kansas City is also home to some of the most beautiful and unique hot air balloon festivals in the country.

From combining the magic of hot air balloons with the interesting art of puppetry to night glow events, the hot air balloon festivals in Kansas City are anything but typical.

And the best part? All three of them are free to the public.

Here are the 3 best hot air balloon festivals you have to check out in Kansas City this summer and into the early fall.

Kansas City’s Great Balloon & Puppet Glow

Dates: TBD August 2024

Location: National WWI Memorial

Price: Free

Kansas City’s Great Balloon & Puppet Glow is an annual event that puts a twist on the hot air ballon festival by adding an interesting element; puppetry. This festival offers a unique combination of both colorful hot air balloons and giant illuminated puppets, all against a backdrop of the historic National WWI Memorial. 

Visitors also have the option to stroll amidst the intricate balloons and puppets, taking photos and creating memories. Whether you're a long-time balloon enthusiast or just looking for a new adventure, the Great Balloon & Puppet Glow promises an unforgettable experience for all ages.

Photo by Guilherme Garcia

Sunflower Balloonfest

Dates: May 17 – 19, 2024

Location: Anthony Municipal Airport

Price: Free

From May 19 to 21, 2023, the skies above Anthony come alive with a brilliant display of vibrant hot air balloons during the annual Sunflower Balloonfest. This family-friendly event offers a variety of activities, including balloon rides, tethered balloon flights, and even a night glow event. 

Visitors can soak in the festive atmosphere, enjoying live music, delicious food from local vendors, and more. Whether you're soaring high above the Kansas landscape or viewing the colorful display from the ground, the Sunflower Balloonfest promises a weekend of joy and wonder for everyone in attendence.

Huff ‘n Puff Hot Air Balloon Rally

Dates: September 6–8, 2024

Location: Mount Hope Balloon Field, between SW Huntoon Street & SW Fairlawn Road

Price: Free

Mark your calendars for September 6–8, 2024, as the skies above Mount Hope Balloon Field fill with colorful balloons during the annual Huff ‘n Puff Hot Air Balloon Rally. Nestled between SW Huntoon Street and SW Fairlawn Road, this annual event is a beloved tradition. 

Visitors can witness an incredible display of hot air balloons taking flight against the backdrop of the picturesque Mount Hope Balloon Field. From thrilling balloon races to relaxing sunrise takeoffs, there's something for everyone to enjoy at the Huff ‘n Puff Hot Air Balloon Rally. 

Photo by Susan Weber


From the unique variety of entertainment of the Great Balloon & Puppet Glow to the picturesque beauty of the Sunflower Balloonfest and the thrilling excitement of the Huff ‘n Puff Hot Air Balloon Rally, each Kansas City hot air balloon festival offers its own unique experience for balloon enthusiasts of all ages.

Each of these three totally free festivals has more to offer than just viewing passive hot air balloons. Depending on which festival you attend, you can expect to have a great time enjoying giant puppets, catching balloon races, enjoying live music and tasty treats from local food vendors, and even taking a hot air balloon ride )tethered or untethered) yourself! 

With free festivals running throughout the summer and into fall, there’s no good reason not to catch at least one of these hot air balloon festivals in Kansas City this year.

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.

What is the best hot air balloon festival in Kansas City?

The best hot air balloon festival in Kansas City is the Huff ‘n Puff Hot Air Balloon Rally held at Mount Hope Balloon Field, between SW Huntoon Street & SW Fairlawn Road, from September 6-8, 2024.

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.