Heritage Inn International Balloon Festival

We are getting very excited about the launch of the 2019 Heritage Inn International Balloon Festival.

We're so happy to be the title sponsor and official Balloon Festival Headquarters again this year!​

The first Heritage Inn International Balloon Festival launched September 2013, just three months after horrific flooding devastated the town. Now in its sixth year, the festival has become a symbol of optimism and resilience in High River—and it’s a wonderful opportunity for visitors to experience the spirit of our lovely town. The festival continues to be organized by a dedicated group of volunteers and supported by many local individuals, organizations and businesses, and the Town of High River.

The five-day festival runs September 25 - 29th, 2019 and features a Hot Air Balloon competition and the Balloon Night Glow.  It brings in pilots from across North America and also internationally to our town, and spectators from Calgary, and southern Alberta. 

As festival headquarters, the Heritage Inn Hotel & Convention Centre will host flight briefings before each flight competition (yes, competitive ballooning is a thing).  Competition flights will take place twice daily from the Macleod Trail Launch Site at 7:30 am and 5:15 pm. There will be one flight on Sunday at 7:30 am. All flights are weather dependent and could be cancelled if mother nature does not cooperate.

Parking is in the residential area and it is the individual’s responsibility to find parking. To get to the Macleod Trail Launch site, we recommend these routes:

  • Route 1: From the hotel to Macleod Trail Launch site, click here.
  • Route 2: Go west on 12th Avenue to Highwood Trail. Turn right and follow Highwood Trail as far north as you can. 

The Balloon Night Glow is not only beautiful but it offers a unique opportunity to connect with pilots, learn about the competition, and watch the memorable Balloon Night Glow. Starting at approximately 5:00 pm (depending on the weather) on Friday, September 27th, at the Macleod Trail Launch Site, the Balloon Night Glow will host balloons, as well as food trucks, and other glow activities. Balloons will glow (light up) from 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm. Keep an eye out for the unique 'special shape' balloons!

For more information about the festival, the balloon competition or the Balloon Night Glow please visit the links provided below:


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4 Reasons to See the Heritage Inn International Balloon Festival

1. You can ride in a balloon.

Balloon flights are for sale and will run (weather permitting) each day of the festival. There’s no better way to enjoy the golden beauty of Alberta in the fall. When you land, ballooning tradition dictates that you enjoy a champagne toast with your crew.

Click here to see available flights for purchase from the festival directly. 

2. The Night Glow is magical (and photogenic).

This popular event attracts thousands of visitors each year, who gather in Adams/Mercer Land (a.k.a. Macleod Trail Launch Site) located at the West end of MacLeod Trail in High River on Friday evening to eat food truck fare and view dozens of inflated, illuminated balloons.​

Prepare yourself for the Balloon Night Glow:

  1. Come early to find parking and anticipate a wait in traffic to exit the Balloon Night Glow and residential area.
  2. Balloons will not be launching during the Balloon Night Glow (7:00 -8:00 pm).  If you would like to view the balloons launching, come earlier around 5:15 pm (weather dependent).
  3. The Macleod Trail Launch Site is on private property, so no dogs or smoking allowed at the Balloon Night Glow. 
  4. We recommend watching the festival's Facebook page or Twitter feed for updates on Balloon Night Glow start times as they may fluctuate depending on the current weather conditions.  
  5. Dress appropriately for the weather, the event is outside.
  6. Don't forget to bring your camera!

3. Competitive ballooning is a thing. 

The festival welcomes more than 20 highly skilled balloon pilots from Canada, the U.S., and Europe. Several pilots will compete in a series of competition flights during the festival, which requires them to drop markers as near as possible to specific goals on the ground. Go to the festival's website to learn more about the competition and terminology.

4. Stay for the River City Classic Show 'n Shine

Two great events are happening in High River on Sunday, September 29th!  The 17th annual River City Classic Show 'n Shine takes place Downtown High River on Sunday, September 29th from 7:00 am - 4:00 pm. For more information visit their website.