June 23-25, 2023
Howell High School
1200 W. Grand River Rd.,
Howell, MI 48843

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General Information

2023 Michigan Challenge Balloonfest

June 23 – 25, 2023
Howell High School, 1200 W Grand River Rd., Howell, MI 48843
(517) 546-3920

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

Admission Fees:

  • $5.00 per person, per day – CASH ONLY
  • Children 3 & under admitted free.
  • Parking is free. 
  • A limited number of weekend wristbands for the Balloon Festival ONLY will be available for $10.00 per person on Friday, June 23rd at admission gates OR at the Howell Area Chamber of Commerce located at 123 E. Washington St. while supplies last. 
  • Carnival Ride Daily Passes are an additional fee and may be found online or purchased at the carnival ticket booth. This is a separate cost from festival admission.

Rules & Reminders

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, grilling and smoking are prohibited at the site on school grounds.
    • Balloon rides are not available during the event since the pilots are competing.
  • Visit the information booth for pilot information and meet the pilots on the launch field at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday.


When do the balloons launch?

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

What does “weather permitting” mean?
Mother Nature does not always provide safe weather conditions for hot air balloon operations. Our balloon operations team in conjunction with the local fire department are trained and qualified to evaluate the weather forecast and current conditions and decide if it is safe to operate the balloons. As much as we hate to disappoint the public, our priority is the safety of our guests, pilots, and crew. We will notify you via public announcement if we need to cancel the balloon portion of the event. NO REFUNDS.

Where do 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 at the Michigan Challenge Balloonfest.

Where are the restrooms located?
Portable restrooms are located near the Highlander Food Court and Landing Zone.  In fact, there are nearly 60 portable restrooms on site, and 10 hand-washing stations.

Where is the beer tent?
We do not have a beer tent at the Michigan Challenge Balloonfest. The event is located on school grounds and alcohol is prohibited. Check out Balloons and Brews located downtown.

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 balloons only launch in the morning and evening, daytime events include entertainment, activities, and attractions for the entire family. See here. [link to schedule of events]

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.

Is there handicapped parking close by?
There is handicapped parking at all three gates.

How do I get there?
Balloonfest is located on the grounds of Howell High School (1200 W. Grand River Rd., Howell, MI 48843), entrances are on M-59, Highlander Way, and West Grand River Ave.

Is it all outside?
Yes, the Michigan Challenge Balloonfest is an outdoor event.

Is there a place to sit?
Tables and chairs are 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.