foreground: small boy, background: 2 hot air balloons

Quad Cities Balloon Festival

The Quad Cities Balloon Festival is a fabulous sight filled with color, adventure and wonder. Mark your calendar and bring your friends and family!

Jen Ritz from Rock Island loves bringing her boys to the Quad Cities Balloon Festival. She says, “It’s a great QC event that we as a family will follow for many years to come. The night glow is always our favorite. It is amazingly beautiful!”

Glowing balloons

September 27-28, 2019

4:00 p.m. – Gates Open to Public

5:15 p.m. – Free Balloon Launch Friday and Saturday

Post launch – Tethered Balloon Rides for $15/rider

Dusk (6:45-7:15 p.m.) Free Balloon Glow Friday and Saturday

Food Vendors

Play area for the kids including bounce houses, face painting and more!

The event is held at the Rock Island County Fairgrounds. Most families bring blankets and chairs and set up for an evening to be amazed by the lovely balloons. You can bring your own food and drink, but there are many vendors and plenty to fill your bellies. Kids will run around as the pilots and teams ready their balloon (this usually takes 10-15 minutes), then a Pilot Balloon (Piball) will be released (a helium balloon) that tells the balloon teams which way the wind is blowing.

Of course, many factors go into a successful launch: the wind, visibility, weather, and skill. It’s fun to see how the details come together to create a seemingly miraculous launch!

While the event does not offer full balloon rides, it offers something more perfect for families staying in one place: a $15/rider tethered ride. Ropes are attached to the balloon and it can only go as high as the rope allows. So, plan to climb in the basket and get a taste of the fun from a elevated view.

two young boys climbing into a hot air balloon

Follow the event details on Facebook at the Quad Cities Balloon Festival page.

Entry is free but donation items or cash for the Quad City Animal Welfare Center would be appreciated. Here is a list of items the QCAWC is requesting that you could bring.

Come on down to the Fairgrounds and enjoy a fun night!

“Our kids love the magic of the balloons glowing! The way they honor our military & veterans at the event is also really touching!” says Becky Clark from Rock Island, IL



About the author

Meghan Cooley Meghan Cooley moved to the Quad Cities from St. Charles, IL, as an Augustana College student over 20 years ago. She left briefly after graduation and then returned to work in admissions and then marketing at Augustana College for 18 years. She now works as a consultant for admissions marketing and social media. She also does copy editing and writes for the Quad City Moms Blog. Now a true Quad Cities transplant, Meghan lives in Rock Island with her husband, Luke (R.O.W.V.A. and Augustana grad and Modern Woodmen employee) and four boys. She loves living in the Quad Cities and finds it the perfect place to raise a family, plan a date night, and go on adventures.

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One comment on “Quad Cities Balloon Festival

  1. I’ll be there that weekend for my 40th Alleman class reunion and am so glad that the balloon festival is happen at the same time I’m there!!! Love to be able to see these things ahead of time!!!

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