The Balloons Over Bend Children's Festival is a time-tested tradition that brings the community together to witness the wonder of hot air balloon flight, all while raising money for its most vulnerable members. This year's event launches with the colorful orbs at sunrise July 28, and continues through the weekend with the Children's Festival, the Balloon Blast Kids Race and the awe-inspiring Night Glow.
Early risers get the opportunity to meet the pilots of the fire-powered crafts, offering a helping hand and watching as they inflate them and take flight at dawn three mornings in a row. These early morning launches will take place at R.E. Jewell Elementary School.
Night owls will have their own chance to experience the wonder that hot air balloons offer during the Night Glow held on Friday at Riverbend Park and Saturday at Sunriver Resort. The events take place at dusk. As the sun descends, the pilots pull the propane levers, illuminating and giving life to the colorful beasts still tethered to the ground. This event captivates visitors both young and old and brings each day to a close with a touch of magic.
The Children's Festival
The fun may begin and end with balloons, but on July 29, the festival has packed the day with a multitude of hands-on and interactive activities. Newly located in the Des Chutes Historical Museum parking lot and adjoining grassy grounds, this event features a heavy equipment rodeo, a bicycle rodeo where young cyclists can learn to navigate obstacles, an abundance of booths loaded with art projects, interactive games, face painting and more.
The festival's new location brings additional opportunities for fun as it provides space for the Balloon Blast Kid's Race, a new addition to this year's festivities. The race consists of a child-centric obstacle course loop set up in the museum's grassy area. Kids run, climb, slide and tunnel their way through each challenge to the finish line. This event divides competitors by age with children ages 3 and 4 going through the course once, 5 through 7 year-olds going through twice and 8 to 10-year-olds running around the course one time before taking on the obstacles twice. All competitors will end the challenge on a waterslide through the archway.
While much about this year's festival is new and exciting, returning families will find plenty of the most popular past activities. Children will get their chance to enjoy a large selection of bounce houses. They will even be able to keep the summer heat at bay on a new one that has a water feature. The ever-popular stuffed animal corral will be onsite and allows kids to pick their favorite animal to take home as a souvenir.
Tickets to the Children's Festival cost $10 in advance and $15 at the door. The price of the ticket also includes entry into the Des Chutes Historical Museum's annual Summer Shootout Marble Tournament, happening the same day. While the purchase of a ticket buys attendees their way into a day filled with fun and excitement, it also lends support to Saving Grace: Imagine A Life Without Violence, a nonprofit serving the Central Oregon community by providing comprehensive family violence and sexual assault services.
Tickets to the festival, along with a full schedule of events, can be found on the Balloons Over Bend Children's Festival website.
Balloons Over Bend Children's Festival
Fri., Jul. 28,8:30pm Night Glow
Sat., July 29, 10am – 4pm Children's Festival
Sun., Jul. 30, 8-9:30pm Night Glow
Des Chutes Historical Museum
129 NW Idaho, Bend