The Quad Cities Hot Air Balloon Festival is held at the

Rock Island County Fairgrounds 

4200 Archer Drive

East Moline, IL 61244

Event Schedule

 

Admission is FREE - in lieu of admission we ask that you bring donations of non-perishable food items to support the River Bend Foodbank.


Friday, September 22 , 2017
4:00 p.m. ..................................................  Gates Open to Public

5:15 p.m. ........................................................    Balloon Launch*

Once Launch occurs the Tethered Rides will begin
Dusk (between 6:45 - 7:15 p.m.) ........................    Balloon Glow*


PLEASE NOTE: Full balloon rides are not offered during the event.

*All activities are weather dependent.  Launch and glow times

may be delayed or canceled because of the weather.

 

Saturday, September 23, 2017

4:00 p.m. .................................................. Gates Open to Public

5:15 p.m. .......................................................     Balloon Launch*

Once Launch occurs the Tethered Rides will begin
Dusk (balloons back by 6:15 pm)........................    Balloon Glow*


PLEASE NOTE: Free fligt balloon rides are not offered during the event.
*All activities are weather dependent.  Launch and glow times 
may be delayed or canceled because of the weather.


ABOUT US

 

​​​​Other Attractions!
  • Food Vendors
  • Fun Kids Area featuring Jumpin Joey's Bounce Houses - $10 wristbands per child for all day play
  • Hot Air Balloon Tether Rides- $15 per person (Friday/Saturday evening, lines may be long)


What is a Balloon Tether Ride?

A hot air balloon is held in place or tethered to the ground.  Ropes are attached to the balloon and it is allowed to go up only as far as the ropes will allow it.  Passengers climb into the basket and the pilot lights the burners.  The balloon ascends into the air approximately 40 - 50 feet above the ground and hovers a little while.  The balloon then gently descends back to the ground.  It is a great way to feel what it would be like to take a hot air balloon ride and to see the field from a slightly higher perspective.


Please note that tickets can not be sold in advance due to weather delays or cancellations. Tickets will begin selling once the launch is confirmed. Please look for signage that indicates height requirements for the rides (approximately 3 feet tall). There is no age requirement, but all participants must be able to climb in to the basket on their own and be able to physically withstand a hard landing.


What is a Balloon Launch?

A launch is a term used when a hot air balloon ascends into the air.

The crew and pilot prepare the hot air balloon for the launch which

takes approximately 10 to 15 minutes total. If there is any sign of a

potentially non-safe flight due to weather, then the launch will be

​CANCELLED. Launch Forecasts and Updates will be available on our

Facebook page.


Hot-Air Balloons are a type of aircraft that rely on basic scientific principles

to fly. Warm air rises over cooler air, thus the balloon is able to rise when

the burner is thrusted. To help the balloon rise, pockets of lifting air known as "thermals" must be present. These thermals are most prominent in the early morning, just after sunrise, and early in the evening.


​Prior to flight, a "Piball" (or Pilot Balloon) will be released. This is a helium filled balloon that lets the pilots know the general direction of the wind. This is the way the pilots balloon will drift. Wind directions do change based on height (especially if a front is in the area) and pilots must rely on (and know the direction) of the winds aloft. A balloon must also be able to land once in the air so the decision for "Go" or "No Go" for launch must take both the takeoff, flight and a safe landing into consideration.


Here are some weather conditions that we take in to consideration for launches:

  • Winds: Winds are obviously the most critical weather phenomena that effects balloons. Winds are the #1 reason that Balloon Flights are cancelled. Balloons fly best with wind speeds ranging from 4 to 6 miles per hour. Balloons will never fly in winds higher than 12 mph. Strong winds can not only damage the balloon, but it can make a pilot overshoot a target, cause a hard landing and require more space for landing.
  • Winds Aloft: Winds aloft (or winds at higher altitudes) can also cause a flight to be canceled. There may be almost no wind at the ground, but at altitude, the wind may be blowing at 20 miles per hour. Winds aloft must also be taken into consideration when deciding whether to fly or not.
  • Visibility: Balloon Pilots operate under FAA VFR conditions. This means they must have a certain amount of visibility in order to be able to fly (which means NO NIGHT FLYING). Depending on flight location, the visibility must be AT LEAST 1 to 3 miles. For the most part, there will be NO flying in fog.
  • Rain: Balloons do not launch in the rain. Rain can damage the balloon and decrease visibility. 
  • Fronts: There must be no fronts in the area for a balloon launch to occur. Fronts usually come with a change in wind direction or increased wind speeds. If pilots can plan ahead for this, then it may be possible for a launch. But if the front will move through during time of flight, the launch must be canceled.
  • Thunderstorms: There must be NO thunderstorms within 100 miles of the launch point for a balloon launch to take place. Thunderstorms present hazards to any type of aircraft, but a balloon is the one aircraft that would be affected most by any type of weather condition. A lightning strike to a balloon is an extremely dangerous hazard. In addition, gust fronts can occur up to 100 miles in advance of a storm or line of storms, which could heavily impact a balloon. If the weather forecast calls for Severe Weather, it is a good bet that the balloons will NOT be launching at that time.


What is a Balloon Glow?

A glow takes place at dusk each night of our event, weather

permitting.  During a glow Hot Air Balloons inflate while remaining

tethered to the ground. The crowd will be invited on the field to

get close to the balloons and talk to the pilots and crew. 

PARENT’S ROLE

QUAD CITIES BALLOON FESTIVAL

September 22 - 23, 2017

Event Location