Are you looking for a little spice in your life? Have you been missing that warm comfort from home? No worries, we have reds, oranges, and yellows ready to offer an ocular hug. Maybe you are over this insanely hot summer, need to take a refreshing break, and find an ethereal sense of peace. To you, we offer you greens, purples, and blues to splash your senses into clarity. Whatever your emotional state, The Great Smoky Mountains Hot Air Balloon Festival on August 17 brings a kaleidoscope of color to satisfy your hunger and spark your curiosity.


Although the hot air balloons are obviously the main attraction, we have plenty of fun activities leading up to the big Balloon Glow. We will have a wide variety of food and beverage vendors ready to taunt your taste buds and fill your bellies with goodness. You will be able to find everything from southern BBQ to Cuban cuisine, or maybe brats and shaved ice are more your style? We have something for all ages and palates. And what festival is complete without a cold beer? Our beer tent will be serving visitors over 21 years of age, saving you from the dehydrating summer sun. If beer isn’t your idea of refreshment, then we welcome you to join us at the Nine Lakes Wine Country Wine Tasting. Those who participate in the wine tasting will receive a commemorative wine glass and the ability to purchase bottles or cases of any of the wines they sample from the six of participating wineries. (Tickets for the wine tasting are $10 and can be purchased on-site.)


Once you’ve quenched your thirst and have completed your rounds at the food vendors, it’s time to enjoy the activities. We will have crafter booths, both demonstrating their skills and selling their artwork. The kids can have their faces painted or take a ride on the trackless train. For the more adventurous visitors, we will have a rock wall and Eurobungy. And in keeping with the event’s theme, there will also be water balloons and balloon animals. On stage, you can watch the Mo’Town Cloggers or dance away the evening with music from the Appalachian Surf Team.


The Grand Finale begins at dusk when the tethered balloons are inflated and light themselves with the giant flame produced by a gas propane tank. The vibrant balloons glowing with the Smoky Mountains in the backdrop is MUST SEE event! Imagine the sky filled with a vision of multicolored, gigantic light bulbs.



****Tethered Rides and “VIP Experiences” NEW this year!*****

Enjoy the festival in style! Tickets include:


-VIP Parking

-Reserved Seating in the VIP private covered viewing area

-Tethered Balloon Ride

-Gourmet Picnic Meal

-Four beverage vouchers (beer, wine or soft drinks)

-Event T-Shirt

$125.00 per person


Tethered rides can also be purchased independently, but are dependent on weather. In the unlikely case, the balloons are not permitted to fly; we will refund our tethered ride guests for their purchase after the close of the event.


Parking passes can be purchased online for $20, or they can be purchased on-site for $25 on the day of the event. Pets are permitted to attend the Great Smoky Mountain Hot Air Balloon Festival, but keep in mind balloon inflation can often be very loud and frightening for our four-legged friends. And it goes without saying, if you bring your pet, you are responsible for bringing and using your poop bags.


For more information or to pre-purchase tickets, go to our website at We look forward to seeing you soon!!


By Rachel Coffman