Gulf Coast Hot Air Balloon Festival


Festival Hours

 
Friday, May 1  2:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. Gulf Coast Hot Air Balloon Festival - Festival Grounds located at 18507 U.S. Highway 98 West, Foley, 1/2 mile West of Highway 98/Highway 59 in Downtown Foley
 
Saturday, May 2  6:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.  Gulf Coast Hot Air Balloon Festival - Festival Grounds located at 18507 U.S. Highway 98 West, Foley, 1/2 mile West of Highway 98/Highway 59 in Downtown Foley
 

Tethered Hot Air Balloon Rides

Hot Air Balloon Tethered Rides are scheduled for Friday and Saturday Night (approximately 7:30 - 9:00 pm). Hot Air Balloons carry passengers up to 25 feet in the air giving them a bird’s eye view of the festival. Hot Air Balloons are tied to the ground using ropes while passengers experience a smooth ascent and descent in the balloon. 

Hot Air Balloon Tethered Rides are $20 for adults or $15 for children (12 and under). No riders under the 42" are allowed. Tethered rides are weather dependent, No refunds will be given for inclement weather. An extremely limited number of tickets will be sold, purchase onsite at the festival.  

Admission, Shuttle and Parking

Free shuttle service from Tanger Outlets and from the Trawick Center in the Bryant Bank parking lot (located at 1502 N. McKenzie St. Foley, AL 36535) to the festival grounds. Shuttle runs Friday 2-10 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. - 10 p.m. Shuttle pick-up is located behind Nike Factory Store for the Tanger Outlet Center.

Onsite parking is available for $5. Guests may access onsite parking by traveling from Hwy 59 N, west on Hwy. 98. Turn right on N. Hickory St., proceed to Cater Lee Way and turn left. The festival entrance is on the left.

Handicap parking is free. Handicap guest can access onsite parking by traveling from Hwy 59 N, west on Hwy. 98. Continue straight and follow handicap parking signs. See guard gate for entrance. Must have handicap sticker visible on/in vehicle.

 

Maps and Directions

The festival is located in the Foley Sports Park, 18507 US Highway 98 West, Foley, Alabama.

From Interstate 65, take exit #37 (Rabun/Bay Minette) Gulf Shores Parkway. Head South on State Highway 287, it will merge with Highway 59. Continue south for approximately 40 miles. Turn right onto Co. Rd. 24, Turn Left onto Co. Rd. 65, Turn Left on Cater Lee Road, Follow the "Festival Traffic" signs to the designated onsite parking areas. 

From Interstate 10, take the Highway 59 exit (Loxley) travel South on Highway 59 approximately 15 miles. Turn right onto Co. Rd. 24, Turn Left onto Co. Rd. 65, Turn Left on Cater Lee Road, Follow the "Festival Traffic" signs to the designated onsite parking areas. 

Festival Volunteers

Gulf Coast Hot Air Balloon Festival volunteers play a vital role in the overall success of the event. More than 300 volunteers are needed to fill shifts from Friday and Saturday. Volunteer opportunities include  being a Balloon Crew person assisting pilots with setting up and taking down their hot air balloons, selling official festival merchandise or serving ice cold drinks.


Youth Club Service Hours

The Gulf Coast Hot Air Balloon Festival works closely with local youth service clubs to provide service hours towards their annual service projects. Contact Rachel at the South Baldwin Chamber of Commerce at 251-943-5550 for more information.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

When is the best time to see balloons?

Early morning flights (approx. 6 a.m.) are the best time to see balloons. It’s definitely worth getting up early to see balloons fly overhead, trying to hit competition targets on the Festival grounds. 

Balloons are also scheduled to fly at dusk (approx. 7 p.m.) on Friday and Saturday night.  Due to large volumes of traffic, it is best to arrive in the early afternoon to secure your best possible viewing location for the nightly activities!

Ballooning is extremely weather dependent. Winds must be less than 7 mph for balloons to fly. Listen to WHEP 1310 AM or 92.5 FM for the latest on flight information or "like" Gulf Coast Hot Air Balloon Festival on Facebook. For weather and wind conditions in Foley, AL visit the weather site.

 Where are the balloons and pilots during the day?

Hot air balloons are not able to inflate during the day due to higher winds. Pilots, their family and crew enjoy the same things as any festival goer - live music, antique tractor displays, kid's entertainment, unique arts & crafts, and local cuisine.

Can I purchase a hot air balloon ride during the Festival? 
Due to the overwhelming demand for balloon rides during the festival, regular rides are not available. Tethered Hot Air Balloon Rides are available on site.  If you wish to fly in a hot air balloon, rides can be purchased before/after the festival from Taking Off Hot Air Balloon Company, a member of the South Baldwin Chamber of Commerce.  Visit Gulf View Balloning for more information.

 What can my children do while visiting the festival?

Kids can enjoy inflatables, children’s interactive entertainment, reptile displays, and face painting  just to name a few!  The Carnival will add a new and exciting option this year as well!

Don’t miss the interactive Hot Air Balloon Display on the soccer field! A Balloon Envelope will be inflated horizontally each day allowing children the opportunity to walk around, explore and play inside the hot air balloon in a safe environment.

 Is smoking permitted on the festival grounds?

Smoking is not allowed on the festival grounds while the balloons are present. Please be courteous of other festival patrons.

 Are pets allowed on the festival grounds?

Only service dogs are allowed on the festival grounds. Please make arrangements to leave your beloved pets at home while attending the festival. The noise of the balloons may be distressing or frightening to some animals.

 Can I bring a cooler with beverage and food into the festival?

Coolers, bottles and food are not permitted on the festival grounds for safety reasons. The festival provides an assortment of unique foods at our concessionaire stands.

 What are my camping, RV, or lodging options?

While you cannot camp or park an RV on the festival grounds, there are camping options nearby. Click here for a complete list of member campgrounds and accommodations.