Hot Air Balloons Take Flight in the Magic City for Balloons Over Billings

July 25, 2019 | by rebecca stewart, photos by brynn barriger

As a child of the ‘80s, one of my great movie obsessions (feeling some nostalgia for those Friday night video rentals from Video Library) was The Chipmunk Adventure. This animated gem saw Alvin, Simon, and Theodore competing with the Chipettes in a race around the world in hot air balloons. That inner child watched giddily this Thursday morning as a handful of the pilots (and crew) participating in this year’s Big Sky International Balloon Rendezvous prepared to take a pre-weekend flight on this beautifully crisp July morning.

Truly, it was incredible to watch the hot air balloons literally unfold, as the crews worked to prepare these unique, licensed, propane-powered aircrafts. As you can imagine, conditions need to be just right in order for the hot air balloons to take flight (they have control of up and down but moving side-to-side directionally is all about that air). Upon our arrival at Amend Park, the pilots were gathered getting a weather and wind report, then followed that up with an old-fashioned wind-check – sending several helium-filled balloons into the sky.

This weekend, July 26-28, 10 pilots are bringing their hot air balloons to participate in the 2019 Rendezvous, of that 10, repeat fans will be excited to note that Princess Nelly is back in town (all the way from Belgium with pilot, Peter Van Overwalle) and Humpty Dumpty will also be joining the festivities. Fan favorites, though these unique balloons with their appendages might be, all of the balloons are an awe-inspiring sight to behold as they unfurl, are filled with air, and find their way upright, until eventually they take flight.

Don’t miss this event that is fun for the whole family – it’s absolutely worth dragging yourself out of bed to be at the park at 6 o’clock in the morning. On that note, let’s talk details so you don’t miss a thing!

Balloons Over Billings 2019 Ascensions:

Weather-permitting, each morning

  • When: July 26-28 @ 6am
  • Where: Amend Park
  • What to expect: Each morning hot air balloons will ascend into the morning skies. Depending on wind direction and speed they may end up over the Westend, Heights, over the river, and over town.
  • In the Know: Free. No smoking, dogs, or drones. But do bring chairs, blankets, and cameras. (Heck, you can even come in your jammies!)
  • NEW: Pancake Breakfast hosted by the Heights and Lockwood Optimist Clubs (freewill donations).

Balloons Over Billings 2019 Glow & Festivities

  • When: Saturday, July 27 @ 6pm-1am
  • Where: Amend Park
  • What: The Glow, taking place Saturday evening will have an impressive variety of food trucks (Kona Ice, Montana Melt, Camphouse BBQ, Taste of Asia, Rollin Rito's, Oktoberfest, Wok & Roll), live entertainment by Soul Funk Collective, kids’ activities, and a movie, the new Dumbo (starting at 10:15pm). The main event, of course, being the Glow, which is planned for 9-10pm.
  • In the Know: Once again, bring the chairs, blankets, and camera, but for this, you might also want to add a flashlight into the mix!
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