One of Statesville's most treasured traditions, the Carolina BalloonFest, runs from Friday, Oct. 14 through Sunday, Oct. 16. (Image via Carolina BalloonFest) Carolina BalloonFest
One of Statesville's most treasured traditions, the Carolina BalloonFest, runs from Friday, Oct. 14 through Sunday, Oct. 16. (Image via Carolina BalloonFest)

Float free at the three-day hot air balloon festival, which runs from Friday through Sunday in Statesville

It’s time to take flight with the Carolina BalloonFest in Statesville! 

The festival, celebrating its 47th year,  takes place from Friday, Oct. 14, through Sunday, Oct. 16, at the Statesville Regional Airport (260 Hangar Drive). 

In addition to hot air balloons, guests can enjoy live music, food at “Eat Street,” a wine and craft beer garden, and tons of activities.

Here are five things to know about the BalloonFest:

Tickets 

Choose from daily tickets or a weekend pass. Friday admission is $10; Saturday advanced tickets are $20 or day-of tickets for $25; and Sunday tickets are $20. A three-day weekend pass costs $40 in advance or $45 at the festival. Children 12 and under are free.

Another option is the Patron Pass, a VIP experience including VIP parking and entry into the hospitality tent. There are three patron options: a $300 couple pass for two people, $150 individual pass, and a $25 add-on ticket only for children six and up.

The admissions booths close when maximum capacity is reached. Tickets are non-refundable, and a portion of festival proceeds gets donated to local non-profits by National Balloon Rally Charities.

Parking

Free and paid parking options are available.

General parking is $10 per day, and VIP is $20. Weekend parking passes are $25 for general and $50 for VIP.

Free parking is located at the Troutman Park & Ride (630 N. Main St., Troutman). Shuttles run from the lot to the festival on continuous 15-minute loops starting at 2 p.m. on Friday and 6:30 a.m on Saturday and Sunday through the close of the festival each day.

No roadside parking is allowed and violators will be towed. No walk-in visitors are permitted.

Gate Times

Gates open at 7 a.m. on Friday and 6:30 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. They close at 8:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 6 p.m.on Sunday.

In addition to the twice-daily flights, patrons can see three mass ascensions, special balloon shapes, and two flyovers. There are also sanctioned hot air balloon competitions, tethered balloon rides, pilot meet and greets, and evening balloon glows on Friday and Saturday. 

More Than Hot Air Balloons

Additional activities include a skydiving exhibition, ninja warrior obstacle course, Kids Zone & Stage, and Artisan Village and MarketPlace. Plus, full days of music are scheduled, with Albannach performing all three days and Bryan Olson headlining on Sunday. 

Cash is recommended, as most vendors are cash only. To take everything in, the fest suggests bringing a camera, lawn chairs, and blankets and wearing sneakers to get around the large field. Unopened bottled water and small snacks are also permitted, but sorry, no pets! 

Rain or Shine

The festival will take place rain or shine, but luckily, the weather is expected to be in the 70s and mostly sunny.
Still, hot air balloon flights, scheduled twice daily in the early morning and late afternoon, do depend on the weather. The okay to inflate will come just before scheduled activities.