Festivalgoers get to feel like a kid again at the annual Plano Balloon Festival. Even the most jaded suburbanite will be dazzled at an early morning sky full of floating fantastical shapes such as a piggy, a pirate, a ladybug, a puppy and a fairytale mushroom. The traditionally-shaped hot air balloons are equally as awe-inspiring, all decked out in their candy-colored stripes and geometric patterns.
The Balloon Fest, which celebrated 35 years in 2014, specializes in family-friendly fun. For starters, there is no alcohol sold, which (let’s be honest) will make or break the event for some people. If that’s the kind of shindig you’re looking for, you’ll be rewarded with booths selling handmade gifts or delicious treats from local restaurants. There are also plenty of free art activities, as well as inflatable bouncy houses that your kids can enjoy for a small fee. Patrons with deep pockets may choose to cough up a nice price to ride in a tethered hot air balloon.
Launch of the hot air balloons depends largely on weather and wind, but pilots will usually fire up the burners and have a balloon glow for the crowd in the event that they cannot take off. Even when they are able to sail away, their timing may not line up with the published schedule, due to the delicate nature of flying these floating giants. It’s best to bring a blanket or chairs, some hot coffee, and a laid-back attitude and just see what fun the day brings you.