Great Smoky Mountains Hot Air Balloon Festival

Join us August 21, 2021 for a summertime spectacle, when professional balloonist light up the evening sky with a beautiful balloon glow and spectacular tethered rides. The sky will be filled with a spectrum of color like never before, against a backdrop of a breathtaking Tennessee Smoky Mountain sunset, in beautiful Townsend, Tennessee!

Pre-Sale Tickets Now Closed

Day-of general admission Tickets will be offered at gate.

$5 admission for all guests 12 and up.


Saturday, August 21, 2021


Townsend Visitor Center, Townsend,Tn


4:00pm – 9:00pm

Special Thank You to the 2021 Festival Sponsors:

Suburban Propane
Dogwood Cabins
Blount Partnership

The 4th Annual Great Smoky Mountains Hot Air Balloon Festival will feature something for everyone:

Family Friendly Activities

Live Entertainment


Crafters — Both Demonstrating and Selling Their Artwork

Food Truck

Food Truck Court


Beer Tent

What to Expect

Against the backdrop of a Smoky Mountain Sunset, the balloons begin to inflate at dusk and glow through sundown and into the nightime sky. This means balloons are usually up from about 5:00pm to 10:oopm, conditional on weather (if weather does not permit a glow the balloons will perform a candlestick glow).

The Balloons Will Not Launch Free…. This Is a Tethered Balloon Event.


Parking for the event is $25 per car and includes up to 4 admission tickets. Admission to the festival is $5 to guests who choose to park off-site. We encourage you to pre-purchase parking tickets and tethered rides online. Some tethered rides (weather permittng) for $25 per person may be sold day of the event.



Our four-legged friends are not discouraged from attending the GSM Hot Air Balloon Festival, but we understand that the Balloons can be frightening and noisy much in the same way a fireworks show creates stress for our furry pets. All pets must be leashed and poop bags are required.


Bands & Live Entertainment

To Be Announced Soon


Activities for All Ages

Our festival is a family fun event with lots of activities for all ages to keep everyone happy and having fun!

Activities will be posted soon.


Food Truck & Concessions

Great local food trucks will be on hand to serve whatever craving you may have.

Food Vendor List Coming Soon.


Beer Tent

Relax with a cold beer while taking in the beauty of the festival.
Nothing better on a summer day.

Hot Air Balloon Fun Facts

  • A rooster, duck, and a sheep were the first hot air balloon passengers. In 1783, they were used to test the effects of flight, and flew for two miles, 1,500 feet in the air, above the French court in Versailles, over the heads of King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. They landed safely after the eight-minute flight.
  • Abraham Lincoln established the Balloon Corps to spy on the Confederates during the Civil War. The Corps was retired after realizing that the hot air balloons were an easy target for the enemy.
  • Virgin Air founder Sir Richard Branson holds the world record for the longest hot air balloon flight, flying 6,700 miles from Japan to northern Canada in January 1991. The trip also set the record for the fastest speed, at 245 miles per hour,
  • The temperature inside the balloon is kept below 248°F.
  • The balloon is referred to as the “envelope,” with a melting point of approximately 446°F.
  • In the Pixar animated movie, “Up,” it’s estimated that more than 12 million balloons would have been required to hoist Carl’s house into the air.
  • Hot air balloons cannot fly in the rain because the water would boil from the heat inside the balloon and melt the fabric.

The event will be held at the Townsend Visitor Center:

7906 E Lamar Alexander Parkway, Townsend, TN 37882

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • What time will parking be available? 4:00 pm
  • How much is parking? $25 per car and includes up to 4 admissions.
  • Is there handicap parking? No. Shuttles will be provided to help anyone that may need assistance.
  • Is outside food or beverage allowed? No.
  • How can you purchase tethered ride tickets? The tickets are sold online on this website. Same tethered rides may be offered on the day of the event.
  • How much is a tethered ride ticket? $25 per person
  • Can my 2 year old ride in the balloon with me? No. Ages 8+ are allowed to ride in balloons.
  • What time do the tethered rides begin? Rides will begin around 6pm and go to 10pm.
  • How long will the rides be? Approx 3 minutes
  • How high will the balloons go? 30 feet
  • Will I get to pick the balloon I ride in? No.
  • What happens if the weather is bad? If the weather does not allow for a balloon glow the balloonists will perform a candlestick glow.
  • Are my parking passes refundable? No. This is a rain or shine event.
  • Are dogs allowed? Yes, all pets must be leashed and poop bags are required. Please be aware that the noise from the balloons may be scary to our four legged friends.
Peaceful Side of the Smokies
Dancing Bear Lodge
Dogwood Cabins