There is something mesmerizing about hot air balloons; a sense of whimsy, perhaps, or the jaw-dropping impact of color against a breathtakingly blue sky. They feel timeless, and it’s rare enough to see one that they almost seem magical. Children and adults alike will marvel over the beauty of the balloons at the 7th Annual Color Aloft Balloon Festival in Grayslake, hosted by the Grayslake Chamber of Commerce.
This large community event shows off the small-town community Grayslake is known for. Visitors to the event can be entertained with music, children’s activities, storytelling, and business booths as well as an old-fashioned baseball game.
If the weather and conditions are right, the balloons will inflate and participate in a classic “Fox and the Hounds” competition. This involves one balloon (the Fox) taking off and the other balloons following and trying to land closest to the fox.
Since hot air balloons don’t have steering they are at the mercy of the winds! They will land wherever the wind takes them and be trucked back for the night glow.
Balloon launches are not an exact science. The window for the launch is from 5:30 – 7:00 p.m. because conditions have to be just right or they can’t take off. Be sure to get there at the opening so you don’t you miss anything! Starting at 4:00 p.m. you will be able to visit community booths, watch the setup of the balloons. Bring a blanket and a picnic dinner and stake out a spot for all the other fun activities! Note there are NO FOOD VENDORS so you need to bring your own food.
In addition to the ballons, there will be an Old Time Baseball game at the Lake Street fields starting at 4:10 p.m. Learn how the rules of baseball used to be very different and watch them play in period costumes! There is also a storytelling area set up in the pavilion. This is truly a family-friendly festival!
After the departure, there is still time to visit the booths and listen to the bands. If you have really little ones this is a great time to sneak out! If your kids are old enough to stay up you want to be sure to stick around for the glow. The glow is when the balloons comeback and their flames light up the balloon itself in the field. Visitors will be able to walk around the balloons, talk to the drivers and in some cases, they can get into the basket (NO RIDES are given)
Parking for the event will be available at the Library, Central Park, Grayslake Middle School, and Grayslake Central High School – be sure to follow all posted signs.
Melissa attended the festival in 2013. You can read about the first event here.
Have you been to Color Aloft? Share your tips for visiting in the comments!