Soar to New Heights with These Balloon Festivals in Colorado and Beyond

Photo by Tamara Susa. Courtesy of Snowmass Tourism.

Autumn is almost here and for travelers looking to take their adventures to new heights, a handful of balloon festivals in Colorado and beyond are preparing to take off in the next few months. Find out where you can see the sky speckled with an array of colorful balloons make their trek from up above.

The Colorado Springs Labor Day Liftoff

Hot Air Balloon Festivals in Colorado Springs, Balloon Festival, Labor Day
Photo provided by Colorado Springs Labor Day Lift Off.

When: Sept. 2 – 4, 2023

Where: Memorial Park

The lowdown: Starting strong with a classic, The Colorado Springs Labor Day Liftoff is celebrating its 47th year, beginning on Sept. 2 and going through the weekend until Monday, with the balloons lifting off every morning at 7 a.m. Not a morning person? No worries, they also have a balloon glow at 7 p.m. on the weekend. Using the balloons like larger-than-life lanterns, the fires illuminate the fields and the night sky, which is all made possible by the folks from Rainbow Ryders. 

Snowmass Balloon Festival

balloon festivals in Colorado
Photo by Tamara Susa. Courtesy of Snowmass Tourism.

When: Sept. 22 – 24, 2023

Where: Snowmass Town Park

The lowdown: The iconic Snowmass Balloon Festival returns to Snowmass Village for its 48th year, Sept. 22-24, 2023. Watch as the balloons take flight, set against the mountain backdrop, where spectators are encouraged to hike up, bike in, or drive to see the balloons. The balloon launch starts at 7 a.m. with a cut-off at 9 a.m. There is a shuttle that provides free transportation from the Snowmass Village to Town Park.

Pueblo Chile and Frijoles Festival

Hot Air Balloon, Balloon, Festival, Pueblo, Chile and Frijoles festival
Photo provided by the Greater Pueblo Chamber of Commerce.

When: Sept. 22 – 24, 2023

Where: Historic Downtown Pueblo/Union Ave.

The lowdown: Head south of Denver to Pueblo for the 29th Annual Chile & Frijoles Festival where they celebrate Pueblo’s cuisine and agriculture with staple events such as a salsa showdown and farmer’s market with chili roasting. Plus, there is a balloon launch as well.  Watch as 15 hot air balloons inflate and launch from the fields just east of the Langoni Soccer Fields — set to travel wherever the winds take them. There’s really nothing like getting a treat for the eyes while getting a treat for your mouth amidst all the spectacular food this festival has to offer.

Windsor Harvest Festival

Hot Air Balloon, Balloon, Festival, Haarvest Festival, Windsor
Photo by Windsor Harvest Festival.

When: Sept. 2 – 4, 2023

Where: Windsor, CO

The lowdown: As the longest-running festival on this list, The Windsor Harvest Festival its 101st year! This popular festival sets the stage for one of the best balloon festivals in Colorado with the weekend show, “Picture the Sky” Rally, with a Monday-morning parade as well. There’s plenty to see throughout the weekend as well including a car show, vintage baseball game, pie-eating contest, carriage rides, $5 All Town BBQ, live music and fireworks over Windsor Lake.

Pagosa Springs Colorfest

Hot Air Balloon, Balloon, Festival, Pagosa Springs, Colorfest
San Juan River at Pagosa Springs with balloons. Photo by Dick Lyon.

When: September 15 – 17, 2023


The lowdown: Make a weekend of it and head to Pagosa Springs for the Colorfest event, running Sept. 15-17, filled with plenty for one’s palate with wine and beer tastings. Of course, there’s the Mass Balloon Ascension on Saturday and Sunday, kicking off at 8 a.m. Plus, enjoy several more mainstays like the night glow and live music throughout.

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

Hot Air Balloon, Balloon, Festival, New Mexico
Photo by Alee Noland and provided by the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.

When: Oct. 7 – 15, 2023

Where: Balloon Fiesta Park

The lowdown: Probably one of the most popular and well-known balloon festivals in the country is the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. With over a week’s worth of festivities, the Land of Enchantment comes alive with hundreds of colorful balloons filling the sky. This year is especially noteworthy considering it’ll also be in the path of the Annular Solar Eclipse, a stellar moment on Oct. 14. starting at 9:13 a.m. Plan ahead and be sure to check their list of scheduled events.

Scottsdale Spooktacular Hot Air Balloon Festival

Hot Air Balloon, Halloween, Arizona, Spooktacular
Photo by Scottsdale Spooktacular Hot Air Balloon Festival.

When: Oct. 28 – 30, 2023

Where: Scottsdale, AZ

The lowdown: Scottsdale hosts a Halloween-themed Spooktacular Hot Air Balloon Festival at the end of October. A bit more tame than many of the others listed, there won’t be any morning flights, and the most elevation will be tethered rides that don’t go above 75 feet off the ground. However, every balloon will serve as a trick-or-treat station, and the opportunity to walk up to an 80-foot titan of an oversized gas lamp and ask for a handful of chocolates sounds like something out of a dream – and you should follow your dreams. Be prepared for a nearly 13-hour car ride though or direct flights from Denver to Scottsdale!

The Great Reno Balloon Race

Reno, Balloon Race, Hot Air Balloon
Photo provided by the Great Reno Balloon Race.

When: Sept. 8 – 10, 2023

Where: Rancho San Rafael Park

The lowdown: Check out the world-renowned, The Great Reno Balloon Race featuring nearly 100 balloons, making it the world’s largest free hot-air balloon event. Come out and see the pilots sail the skies and rise to the top as the victor in this extravaganza. If you feel like splurging for a more luxurious time, you could view the hundreds of hot air balloons from the comfort of a clear, heated tent with a 360-degree view at the Cloud 9 Club. And of course, the biggest little city has so much to offer while you’re there. 

There it is, eight balloon festivals in Colorado and beyond to kick-start your fall festivities!

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