It’s sweet summertime here in West Michigan, and there are endless ways to stretch out the Pure Michigan bliss: soaking up the sun and taking in the sights, sounds, smells (and tastes!) at a lineup of lively, local Grand Rapids festivals. But nowhere else will you find a West Michigan festival so positively packed with family fun from sunrise to set as at the 2017 Grand Rapids Balloon Festival! And we’re sharing our top 4 reasons why it’s the can’t-miss event of the season:
#1) A Picnic in the Park (of epic proportions!)
Landing back in West Michigan July 20-22, 2017, the Grand Rapids Balloon Festival promises the kind of light-hearted, low-key family fun you and yours have been dreaming of all summer. And it all kicks off on Thursday, July 20 at Downtown Grand Rapids’ own Ah-Nab-Awen park from 6-10 PM, where glowing hot air balloons, irresistible food vendors, and live music make this event so much more than your average picnic. Come help us start the celebration, get information about the rest of the weekend festivities at the Hudsonville Fairgrounds, and walk inside a RE/MAX hot air balloon for just $1! And while the Picnic In The Park is the perfect introduction to the Grand Rapids Balloon Festival, it’s only a sample of the fun in store for you and yours when the main events get underway at the Hudsonville Fairgrounds on Friday & Saturday, July 21-22!
#2) A fairground absolutely FULL of fun for kiddos
When the main 2017 Grand Rapids Balloon Festival events get started at the Hudsonville Fairgrounds on July 21 & 22, prepare for two days positively packed with every item on your family’s summer bucket list, all gathered at one fairground. Friday evening’s events kick off at 5 PM, where carnival games, inflatable bounce houses, photobooths, balloon artists, and a dunk tank will leave your little ones begging to return for day two. And be sure to rise and shine early on Saturday, the 22nd to witness the unforgettable sights of the balloon fly-in from 6:30-8 AM, then take a break (or a nap in the car!) and return for even more fun at 1 PM, when Balloon Walks and the Critter Barn round out the already-exciting lineup of inflatables, face painting, and carnival games!
#3) … And just as much fun for the adults!
Keep this one from your kids, parents: while they’re burning off a sugar rush in the inflatable bounce house or taking their first-ever tour of a hot air balloon, you’ll be having every bit as much fun as them (shhhh… we wont tell)! Friday night’s festivities include the soul-stirring sounds of local favorite folk artist, May Erlewine (live on the main stage from 5:30-6:30 PM) followed by George Moss on the main stage from 8:30-9:30 PM, plus food and drink vendors, balloon launches, and the not-to-be-missed 9:30-10 PM Night Glow. Saturday’s lineup brings just as much to enjoy while the little ones have fun, including more live music from Boy From School & The Lasting Hope, balloon walks, food & drinks galore, Cookies & Canvas painting sessions from 2-8PM, and (…wait for it…) helicopter rides! Helicopter rides will be offered on Saturday from 1-8PM for just $35/person, and more details about how to snag a ride in style can be found here. Simply cap off the weekend of endless fun with Saturday evening’s 9-9:30 PM Night Glow, and consider your summer made.
#4) Making a difference in your community
Balloon walks, bounce houses, and summer sun aside, making it to the 2017 Grand Rapids Balloon Festival means making a difference in your local community. That’s because all proceeds from this year’s Grand Rapids Balloon Festival go to Children’s Miracle Network, Helen Devos Children’s Hospital, and D.A. Blodgett St. John’s, helping local West Michigan children. In fact, over the last two years, the Grand Rapids Balloon Festival has raised over $40,000 for local charities! And, while admission is free for Thursday night’s Picnic In The Park and just $5 (ages 2+) for Friday & Saturday’s festivities at the Hudsonville Fairgrounds, you can always make an additional donation to the festival by purchasing your tickets through the 2017 Grand Rapids Balloon Festival GoFundMe Page! Just choose from 3 different reward levels and enjoy discounted admission passes while supporting these important community organizations!
More 2017 Grand Rapids Ballon Festival Info:
- Check out the full 2017 Grand Rapids Balloon Festival schedule of events
- Become a festival sponsor
- Become an in-kind sponsor
- Become a festival volunteer
- Become a hot air balloon crew volunteer
All activities are weather dependent and times may vary from the posted schedule. For safety, balloon launches are completely dependent upon weather. We cannot guarantee that they will launch, and we cannot guarantee a time. We aim to launch no later than 8pm both Friday and Saturday evening, however, we could launch earlier or later, depending on the weather. Keep in mind, balloons start inflating well before the launch. In order to see the balloons filled and launched, we recommend arrival by 6pm! The viewing area will get you close to 20 hot air balloons, and it’s an incredible sight to see them fill up and take off!