On the balloon field:
No smoking No dogs No drones
Balloons start lifting off around 6:45 a.m. (don't miss it!)
Friday, Saturday, and Sunday balloons lift off from the fields at the south end of Timber Linn Park, weather permitting. Some balloons launch Thursday morning on media day. Reporters and photographers a chance to get pictures and stories about the event circulating ahead of time.
We are unable to accomodate paid rides in 2023.
If your business receives balloon rides as part of your sponsorship package, you will be notified via email. All sponsors must submit passenger information by July 31.
Balloon rides are scheduled based on several factors, and due to a limited number of rides, it is not possible for every rider to have their first request. If you need to cancel your paid ride, you will receive a full refund if cancelled by 4:00 p.m. the Friday prior to the festival. Riders must contact Albany Parks & Recreation at 541-917-7765 to cancel a ride. Any paid rides cancelled after 4:00 p.m. the Friday prior to the event or any no-shows on your scheduled morning will not receive a refund. If an approved replacement rider is found a refund will be issued. If a balloon ride is cancelled by event staff, a refund will be issued or the ride rescheduled if possible.
If you have any further questions about rides, or have any trouble signing up on the website, please call 541-917-7765.
What to Expect
A hot air balloon ride is a beautiful, peaceful and enjoyable experience. Balloon flights take place at sunrise because that is when conditions are the best. At the time of the event, this means around 6:30 a.m. You will arrive and check in up to an hour before that. You will then be assigned to your pilot. Most passengers, if they are able, get a chance to help with the setup and inflation of the balloon. This takes about 30 minutes. It is easy, fun, and amazing to watch up close. The flights will range between 45-90 minutes at which point the pilot will find a suitable field to land in. The passengers and crew then spend another 30 minutes packing the balloon back up. Then it is back to the launch field where most pilots offer a post-flight ceremony or toast, especially if it is your first flight. Plan on being finished between 9-10 a.m.
All balloon flights take place at sunrise because that is when conditions are the best. Check in time for all passengers will be between 5:15 a.m. and 5:45 a.m. each morning. If you do not check in by 6 a.m., you may forfeit your flight.
What to Wear
Safety is a primary concern for all balloon operations, therefore proper attire is important. The general rule is to limit the amount of exposed skin and wear natural fibers (cotton is good, polyester is bad). Wear tennis shoes or hiking boots, not open toed sandals or flip flops, as we cannot guarantee the condition of your landing zone. Also, some pilots like to attempt splash 'n dashes in lakes or ponds, so wear shoes you don't mind getting wet. Long pants and long sleeves are recommended and dress in layers. It will be quite cold at the beginning but warms up as the morning goes on. A jacket and/or sweatshirt that can be removed later is a good idea.
Just north of the launch field is a large gravel parking lot, east of Price Rd. This is where you should park on the morning of your flight.
All riders must be at least 12 years old. Exact weight is a critical factor in the safety and planning of a hot air balloon flight. Please be accurate when filling in your weight on the sign up form. Your information will be handled discretely but is vital to the scheduling of your flight. Unless receiving special approval, weight limits are 300 pounds per person and 600 pounds per group. You must be able to climb in and out of the balloon basket with minimal assistance. You must also be able to stand for the duration of the flight. We do not have any balloons that can accommodate wheelchairs or passengers that need to be seated. Pregnant women will be allowed to ride as long as they are physically able and are less than 28 weeks along.
When you sign up to ride, you must sign up with any other passengers you wish to ride with. Ride groups can be a maximum of 3 people (weight limits apply). Ride groups apply to sponsors and paid passengers. Sponsors wishing to add additional paid passengers to their sponsored ride groups may do so.
How to help crew a balloon
Many of our pilots come from out of town and can't bring their regular crews with them. The event must assign these pilots local volunteers to assist them in setting up their balloons each day. An average size balloon takes 4-6 people to set up and take down. Crewing for a hot air balloon is fun and exciting and is a great way to experience the event up close and personal. You may even be offered a balloon ride as a thank you!
- Able to follow all pilot directions and adhere to all event rules and guidelines
- Either 18 years of age or older or 15-17 years of age and signed up with a parent
- Physically able to push, pull, or lift up to 50 pounds
- Must be available a minimum of two days
- Punctual and available from 5:30–10:00a.m. on days you are crewing
- Do not sign up as a volunteer if you already have a specific pilot you are working with. Just contact them directly.
- In order to have a crew account, you will need a valid email address which will be your login ID.
- If there are multiple people, such as a family, that only have one email address, you will create an account with a primary account holders name, and then add the rest of the family members to that account.
- If you volunteered last year, your account is set up already and your information has been saved, but you will need to let us know that if you are able to help again this year.