SOMD Balloon Fest FAQ

Q: Where can I purchase tickets?

A: General Admission tickets will be available for purchase online beginning at noon on August 4, 2017. The cost is $10 per adult, $5 for children ages 3-12, and FREE for children 2 and under.  


Q: Can I still buy tickets at the gate?

A: As long as they don't sell out ahead of time, tickets can also be purchased at the door the day of the event.  We'll be sure to do our best to keep everyone updated in the case that we do sell out.


Q: Do I have to pay extra for kids’ activities?

A: No, your General Admission wristband gets you access to all KIDZONE activities, including face painting, inflatables, and a walk-thru balloon!


Q: Are balloon rides available?

A: Yes, tethered rides are available if weather conditions are favorable for safely inflating hot air balloons.

Q: Will only tethered rides be available?

A: Yes.  Because of air space limitations being between PAX Naval Air Station, Andrews Air Force Base, and Washington D.C., we're only able to offer tethered rides at the Southern Maryland Balloon Festival.  If you're interested in a longer, non-tethered ride, we are selling raffle tickets fo win a 45-minute full flight for two to be scheduled for a later date.  You can buy tickets at the festival or online HERE.

Q: What does a balloon ride cost?

A: Tethered rides are $20 for adults and $10 for children ages 5-12.  Passengers must be at least 5 years old and 48" tall for the tethered balloon rides.


Q: Do I need a reservation for a ride in a balloon?

A: No, reservations are not needed.  Tickets for tethering go on sale after balloons are declared safe to inflate and/or tether.  The lines to purchase a tethered hot air balloon ride will begin forming at 3pm at the festival on Saturday.  According to our pilots, plenty of tickets are generally available for everyone wishing to take a ride.  The exception would be if weather conditions change, making it unsafe for a balloon to be inflated.


Q: What is a tethered balloon ride?

A: A tethered ride is when the basket of a hot air balloon remains attached to the ground by a three-point tether (rope) system.  The balloon and basket ascend about 60-80 feet into the air where passengers get a breathtaking view of the festival grounds, Spider Hall Farm, and beyond!


Q: What is considered favorable weather for hot air ballooning?

A: A hot air balloon can only be safely inflated and tethered when weather conditions are optimal (no wind or rain).  Since they are "lighter than air" crafts and have a lot of surface area exposed, it doesn't take much more than a breeze or slight gust to make them difficult to control and unsafe.  Typically, wind speeds must remain below 7 mph to be considered safe for tethering.  Pop-up thunderstorms can be particularly worrisome and balloons will not tether if radar indicates a storm within a 50 mile radius.  Prior to each balloon inflation, the pilots will conduct a weather briefing to discuss and decided whether it is safe to inflate and/or tether.  Sometimes conditions are safe enough for a balloon to inflate but not safe enough to tether with passengers.

Q: What is a balloon glow?

A: A balloon glow happens right around sunset.  Pilots keep their balloons on the ground but stand them upright and turn up the flame to make each one look like a giant light bulb!  It's an amazing sight!


Q: What is appropriate to wear?

A: The festival takes place outside so it can be HOT --  dress accordingly and don't forget your sunscreen.  Remember, we will be on a farm so wear comfortable walking shoes, too!


Q: Where do we park?

A: We have general parking in Lots #1 & #2 at the College of Southern Maryland's Prince Frederick Campus (the two larger lots in front of Building A) and the front two lots at Hallowing Point Park.  Parking is free and so is the continuous shuttle service running throughout the day.  Limited handicap and VIP parking is available onsite at Spider Hall Farm.


Q: Are pets allowed?

A: No, however service animals are allowed.


Q: Can we bring food and drinks into the festival?

A: No, outside food and drinks are not allowed on the Balloon Festival grounds, with the exception of water.  However, we will have many local food and drink vendors with items available for purchase all day.


Q: Are lawn chairs and picnic blankets allowed?

A: Yes, there will be designated areas ideal for enjoying live music, watching the balloons, or just hanging out near the food vendors.


Q: Is smoking allowed?

A: There is absolutely no smoking allowed on the Balloon Festival grounds.  A lit cigarette could possibly ignite a balloon's fuel tank and an ash can melt the balloon envelope.  Also, pockets of propane can settle in areas around the field.  This odorless gas can easily ignite.


Q: I want to use my drone to take pictures.  Is this allowed?

A: No drones are allowed to fly by the public during the entire event.  There may be drones overhead operated by professional photographers who have received pre-approval and a press pass.


Q: Will there be ATMs at the event?

A: Yes.


Q: Can I volunteer at the Balloon Festival?

A: Yes!  We have many volunteer opportunities available both at the festival and behind the scenes.  Email if you are interested in helping make our first Southern Maryland Balloon Festival a success!  This is also a great opportunity for summer service learning hours!


Q: How much does it cost to be a sponsor of the Balloon Festival?

A: The Southern Maryland Balloon Festival offers sponsorship opportunities from as little as $250 up to the $10,000 Presenting Sponsor level.  In-kind sponsorships of goods or services are also available.  Email to see which sponsorship levels are still available.  We can also custom tailor a sponsor package to suit your needs.


Q: How does my sponsorship of the Southern Maryland Balloon Festival benefit the community?

A: Your sponsorship helps to cover the costs for the event and provides funding to United Way of Calvert County's Community Impact and Basic Needs Grants.  These grants support local nonprofit organizations and their programs to improve the health, education, financial stability, and basic needs for people living right here in Calvert County, Maryland.  We are proud to say that money raised here stays here and the evidence-based programs that UWCC funds are producing measurable results you can see.



Still have questions?  Email or give us a call at (410) 535-2000.



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