Home » Michigan Challenge Balloonfest F A Q

Michigan Challenge Balloonfest F A Q

When do the balloon launch?

The balloons launch between 6-8 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday; and fly-in to the launch site on Saturday and Sunday mornings between 6-8 a.m.

Where to the balloons launch from?

The launch field is roped off and located by the main stage. For morning flights, the pilots launch from areas outside of the event grounds and fly into the launch field.

How do I get a balloon ride?

Balloon rides are not offered during the event.

Where are the bathrooms?

Portable toilets are located near the Highlander Food Court and Landing Zone.  In fact, there are nearly 70 toilets on site, and 10 hand-washing stations.

Where is the beer tent?

We do not have a beer tent at the Michigan Challenge. The event is located on school grounds and alcohol is prohibited.

How much are the carnival rides?

The Wade Shows carnival opens on Thursday, a day before the Balloonfest opens on Friday, and offers discounted wristband prices. Discounted wristbands can also be ordered online for additional savings before June 20. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, wristbands are $25. Individual ride tickets are also available.

Where can we eat and what kind of food do they have?

Food vendors are located at the Highlander Food Court, in the Landing Zone and in the carnival. The menu includes festival food, beverages, ethnic food and specialty treats.

Are there any other activities other than balloons?

Because the balloon only launch in the morning and evening, daytime events include entertainment, activities and attractions for the entire family.

Will the balloons fly?

Pilot briefings are held at 6 a.m. and p.m. to determine if the flight is a go based on weather conditions.

Will we only see balloons during launch times?

There is a pilot meet and greet at 5 p.m. on Saturday on the launch field, but the best time to see the balloons is during the launch times.

How much are the carnival tickets?

Purchase in advance online before June 20 at wadeshows.com for wristband discounts. Prices on Thursday are $16 from 2-6 p.m.; and $20 from 6-11 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday wristband prices are $25.

How much is admission?

A festival event passes are $15 per day. The best value is a weekend pass at $25, or $20 in advance at the Howell chamber until June 21. The pass includes parking and admission for everyone in the vehicle.

Is there handicapped parking close by?

There is handicapped parking at all three paid gates.

How do I get there?

Balloonfest is located on the grounds of Howell High School, entrances are on M-59, Highlander Way and West Grand River Ave.

Is it all outside?

Yes, the Michigan Challenge is an outdoor event.

Is there a place to sit?

Tables and chairs are located in the Highlander Food Court and in the Landing Zone. Guests can bring their own chairs that can be set up around the launch field to watch the Balloonfest.

Rules & Reminders

The Michigan Challenge Balloonfest event is one of the premier summertime activities in Michigan, offering entertainment for the entire family. This community event has activities planned for everyone – from skydiving and stunt kite shows to carnival rides, kid attractions, fireworks, and the always-popular balloon launches, fly-ins, and evening glow. There are lots of NEW events and attractions planned this year, and we look forward to seeing you there! Details are at www.michiganchallenge.com

For the comfort and safety of all who attend the Michigan Challenge Balloonfest, please follow these basic guidelines:

  • Remember to bring:
    • family and friends
    • a jacket for the evening
    • a camera to take photos
    • comfortable walking shoes
    • lawn chairs, beach chairs or blankets
    • sunglasses
    • sunscreen and bug spray.
  • Please leave pets and sparklers at home for safety reasons.
  • Remember, alcoholic beverages and smoking are prohibited at the site on schools grounds.
  • Balloon rides are not available during the event since the pilots are competing.

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