What You Need to Know About Sonoma County Hot Air Balloon Classic

When colorful hot air balloons dot the skyline of Sonoma County, it is an incredible sight unlike any other. Every year, visitors from all corners of California flock to Windsor for the Sonoma County Hot Air Balloon Classic. This spectacular two-day festival is one of the year’s most anticipated happenings, so plan accordingly! Here’s everything that you need to know for planning the perfect trip.

The Sonoma County Hot Air Balloon Classic is just one great event in Sonoma Wine Country. Discover more celebrations and Sonoma County festivals when you download our free Vacation Guide! Our guide includes over 100 attractions, events, and things to do in the area.

Tips for Your Trip to the Sonoma County Hot Air Balloon Classic

Get There Early

The gates at the Sonoma County Hot Air Balloon Classic open as early as 4:00 a.m. Parking is limited, so get there early! Early birds will be rewarded for their efforts when the Dawn Patrol launches at 5:00 a.m. During this spectacular event, you will witness hot air balloons launching into the dark, lighting up the sky! It is truly one of the most spectacular events at the Hot Air Balloon Classic.

Pack a Picnic

If you arrive early, you are bound to be hungry. You will find several food vendors at the event, but you can avoid lines by packing your own picnic. In addition, remember to bring lawn chairs or a blanket. In the morning, the grass is covered with dew, and sitting on wet grass isn’t fun. We recommend visiting one of Sonoma’s local bakeries, like Les Pascals, for mouthwatering local pastries!

Don’t Forget Your Camera

The Sonoma Hot Air Balloon Classic is full of amazing photo opportunities! The balloons that you will find here are only limited by your imagination. This is an event that you will want to remember for years to come, so be sure to bring your camera. You may even catch a glimpse of your favorite superhero or cartoon character!

Schedule of Events

The following Sonoma County Hot Air Balloon Classic 2018 events take place on both Saturday, June 9, and Sunday, June 10.

4:00 a.m. Gates Open

5:00 a.m. Dawn Patrol

6:30 a.m. Main Launch

6:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Tethered hot air balloon rides

4:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Food booths, craft booths & kids play area

Remember to buy your tickets in advance!

Now Is the Time to Plan Your Summer Vacation

In anticipation of our grand reopening in July 2018, The Olea Hotel is booking up quickly for the summer. Check our availability today! Now is the perfect time to start planning your 2018 summer vacation. 

Relax by the pool or explore Glen Ellen’s vibrant downtown. However you choose to spend your days in Sonoma Wine Country, you can always look forward to luxurious amenities, including gourmet breakfast, weekend wine tastings, concierge services, and more at Olea Hotel!

Don’t forget to download your free Sonoma Valley Vacation Guide to find more great summer events like the Sonoma County Hot Air Balloon Classic.