Great Smoky Mountains Hot Air Balloon Festival to kick off this weekend

The VIP experience will take place August 19, with the main event kicking off on August 20.
The VIP experience will take place August 19, with the main event kicking off on August 20.
Published: Jul. 22, 2022 at 2:55 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 19, 2022 at 8:59 AM EDT
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TOWNSEND, Tenn. (WVLT) - Balloons will once again fill East Tennessee skies in August! The Great Smoky Mountains Hot Air Balloon Festival will return to Townsend for its fifth year, bringing fun for attendees of all ages.

The festival will kick off for those who purchase VIP tickets on Aug. 19 from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. at the Townsend Visitor Center, located at 7906 E. Lamar Alexander Parkway. Only 300 participants will be able to buy the particular tickets, which are priced at $200 per person.

The VIP package includes main event admission, parking, tented seating for balloon viewing, swag, food, adult beverages and unlimited non-alcoholic drinks, according to a news release. VIPs will also get to speak with balloonists and have a balloon ride with many photo opportunities.

Hot air balloons will fill the sky for the main event on Aug. 20 from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the visitor center. Attendees will be able to enjoy live entertainment, demonstrations and selling of artwork, a food truck and a beer tent.

“The Hot Air Balloon Festival is such a visually stunning backdrop of mountains and hot air balloons. It is a mesmerizing display, and I am happy that we are having this festival in Townsend another year. I think people who come out will be very happy they did,” Little Arrow Outdoor CEO and festival organizer, Carmen Simpher said.

Admission costs $5 per guest, with either advanced parking costing $20 or festival parking the day of at $25.

Pre-sale tickets for tethered balloon rides are now available at $25 per rider here. According to a release, no riders under eight will be permitted to ride the balloons. Rides during the main event will begin at 6:00 p.m., weather permitting.

More information can be found here.

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