Sonoma County's Festival of Hot Air Balloons
The annual Sonoma County Hot Air Balloon Classic that floats into Sonoma County each summer now has a new home — the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa.
Even if you're not an early riser, this stunning event, known as the 'Sonoma County Strong Glow Patrol,' is a must.
And think about this: To set aloft at 5 a.m., the balloon pilots had to leave their beds in the wee hours and travel to the field to fill their balloons.
But if you miss that spectacular sight at dawn, don't despair: about 30 balloons will participate in the big main launch, scheduled for much later … well, at 6:30 a.m. on both days.
And while the colorful balloons drift hither and yon above, you can enjoy live music, chomping on tasty breakfast food, snatching up event souvenirs, checking out the work of local craftspeople, and watching the children have fun in the Kids PlayLand.
Events wind down at 10:30 a.m., and you'll still have most of the day ahead of you.
What you need to know:
- Location: Sonoma County Fairgrounds, 1350 Bennett Valley Road, Santa Rosa
- Hours (both days): Gates open at 4 a.m.; the Sonoma County Strong Glow Show begins at 5 a.m.; tethered balloon rides are offered from 5:30-10:30 a.m., depending on wind conditions; and the main balloon launch is at 6:30 a.m. Event ends at 10:30 a.m.
For ideas about what to do with the rest of your day, read Hot Air Ballooning in Sonoma County, 5 Fun Things to do in Santa Rosa, and Top Wineries in Santa Rosa, and check our listings of things to do in Sonoma County.
Written by Sonoma Insider Suzie Rodriguez