Events

Schedule of Events

The Heritage Inn International Balloon Festival involves a number of activities including introductory ballooning workshops prior to the event, scheduled Festival competition flights, and The Glow

Quick Index
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    Intro to Hot Air Ballooning Workshops

    From launching to landing

    Who doesn’t like to see a hot air balloon in the sky? Have you ever wondered what happens to get them in air and back down again? Now is your chance to find out!

    Intro to Hot Air Ballooning

    A behind-the-scenes look into hot air ballooning for those with a beginner's interest or considering volunteering as crew members at the Festival.

    If you have questions, please contact volunteerhighriverballoon@gmail.com or tech.highriverballoonevents@gmail.com.

    Workshop Description

    The Heritage Inn International Balloon Festival is right around the corner. Hot air balloons will be taking to the skies over High River, Alberta from September 22-26, 2021.

    The Festival’s Balloon Crew Training Team is holding an Intro to Hot Air Ballooning workshop. In this personalized and hands on experience you will learn about:

    • Basic Ballooning Terminology
    • Is it a good time to fly?
    • Packing to fly
    • Getting ready to launch
    • During the flight
    • Landings
    • Packing up

    This workshop is perfect for:

    • Anyone with an beginner’s interest in hot air ballooning
    • Anyone who has thought about being a balloon crew member

    Notes:

    • We won’t be inflating the envelope, but we may do a candlestick burn
    • No rides will be given
    • No animals allowed at the event site
    • Crew Training for Festival volunteers will take place in the evening on September 21, 2021. Volunteers who can't attend that session are welcome to attend this session

    HIIBF Crew Training for Volunteers

    Learning the ropes

    The tradition of volunteer crew training on Festival Eve continues. New and past volunteer come together to meet each other prior to the event as well as review roles and responsibilities during event.

    Crew Training for Volunteers

    Hands-on training for first time and past Festival crew volunteers

    If you have questions, please contact volunteerhighriverballoon@gmail.com.

    Workshop Description

    This hands-on crew training will review the roles and responsibilities of being a crew member at the Heritage Inn International Balloon Festival. First time crew volunteers are highly encouraged to attend as well as those with previous crewing experience as a refresher. Great opportunity to meet other crew prior to the event.

    During Crew Training we will cover:

    • Basic Ballooning Terminology
    • Is it a good time to fly?
    • Packing to fly
    • Getting ready to launch
    • During the flight
    • Landings
    • Packing up

    This workshop is perfect for:

    • First time and past Festival crew volunteers

    Notes:

    • Volunteer only training. If you would like to volunteer and have not completed an application, please go to the Volunteer page: 
    • We will be handling a deflated full size envelope if conditions allow
    • We won’t be inflating the envelope, but we may do a candlestick burn
    • No rides will be given
    • No animals allowed at the training site

    Register for: September 21 @ 6:30pm

    What: Training for HIIBF Volunteer Crew
    Who: Volunteers who requested to crew
    When: September 21, 2021
    Time: 6:30pm
    Cost: Free
    Location: High River AB (location to be confirmed by the Volunteer Coordinator)

    Register: Eventbrite-Sept21-6:30pm

    Passenger Ride Contest

    CLOSED - Win a FREE Hot Air Balloon Ride

    The winner has been declared but you can still take the First Flight Escape online adventure.

    We're having a contest! That's right. You have a chance to win a hot air balloon ride during the 2021 Heritage Inn International Balloon Festival.

    However, this is no ordinary draw to win. We're trying something new.

    From September 17 to September 20, 2021, you will set out on an adventure from the comfort of your own home to solve a series of puzzles and collect clues along the way. The clues will reveal a final answer to submit as your entry in the contest. The winner will be chosen randomly from all the correct submissions.

    What: FIRST FLIGHT ESCAPE -  online escape room experience
    When: Your adventure runs from September 17-20, 2021.
    Where: Head to the First Flight Escape page to find the puzzles. Puzzles will be posted on social media as well, although you may not stay there.
    Who: Anyone over 18 years of age who submits their final answer by 11:59pm on September 20, 2021 is eligible for the random draw. The winner must meet all passenger requirements, including being fully vaccinated, in order to fly.
    Prize:
    One (1) passenger ride on the Wednesday, September 22 PM flight. A second ride can be purchased for the same flight.

    FAQ:

    • Will this be fun? We think so! 
    • Can I enter multiple times? You can enter multiple times, but only your last correct entry will be eligible for the draw. That means if you want to change your final answer, you can. But multiple correct answers will not give you an advantage.
    • I'm no good at puzzles. How can I possibly win? We tried to make the puzzles both fun and easy to solve. If you get stuck, a series of hints are available. If all else fails, answers will be provided on the last day.
    • I can't make the Wednesday, September 22 PM flight. Should I play? You sure can play for the fun of it! If you win but cannot fly on Wednesday, you will have the choice to transfer your prize to another eligible passenger or have us randomly select another person from correct submissions.
    • Do I have to do the puzzles in order? No. There is a bit of a storyline if you do the puzzles in order, but you can solve them however you like - except for the last one. You will need to solve the prior puzzles to complete the final one.
    • Do I have to solve the puzzles at one time? No. The puzzles will added over the coming days. You can solve each one as they come out, or solve them all in one go. However your schedule allows. 
    • I have more questions. Please email tech.highriverballoonevents@gmail.com

    Festival Event & Flight Schedule

    We are still flying for another

    ** FESTIVAL COVID UPDATE **

    Festival Flights: Balloons will be launching according to the planned flight schedule

    • Participants are following all new REP guidelines
    • Spectators should observe the 2m distancing between households and masks are recommended

    Come out and experience the excitement of a launch. As many launches as you like. All the details about the flight schedule, pilots, briefing, launch site map, and spectator information are found below. 

    Details are subject to change on a daily basis. Please watch the website and social media for on-going updates during the Festival.

    Pilots

    Our roster of pilots includes those who live right here in High River, in Calgary and across Alberta, as well as across Canada and the United States. 

    Get to know our pilots and the balloons they will be flying the skies during the Festival.

    Flight Briefings

    Pilots gather prior to every flight for announcements, review weather conditions, and confirm if they are flying or not.

    Location: Heritage Inn Balloon Central
    Morning: 7:00am
    Evening: 4:30pm
    Tasks: The task for each flight is Hare & Hound

    Launches

    Flights during are scheduled in the morning and evening to coincide with the most promising weather conditions. One hour after sunrise and 2 hours before sunset offer the most stable winds for flying a hot air balloon. Since balloons move with the air, all weather conditions are taken into consideration in deciding whether or not to fly.

    What: Fiesta Flights
    Location
    : Macleod Trail launch field (see map below)
    Price: Free
    Tickets: not required
    Times: see Time column in table below (pdf version)

    Launch / Event Schedule

    Date | Sunrise/Sunset Times Time Activity Location Status
    Wednesday, September 22 4:00pm Opening Ceremonies Heritage Inn Balloon Central COMPLETED
    Sunrise: 7:24am | Sunset: 7:31pm 5:30pm Media/Sponsor Fiesta Flight Macleod Trail Launch Site CANCELLED
    Thursday, September 23 7:30am Fiesta Flight Macleod Trail Launch Site COMPLETED
    Sunrise: 7:25am | Sunset: 7:29pm 5:15pm Fiesta Flight Macleod Trail Launch Site COMPLETED
    Friday, September 24 7:30am Fiesta Flight Macleod Trail Launch Site COMPLETED
    Sunrise: 7:27am | Sunset: 7:27pm 5:15pm Fiesta Flight Macleod Trail Launch Site CANCELLED
    5:00pm The Balloon Glow Macleod Trail Launch Site CANCELLED
    Saturday, September 25 7:30am Fiesta Flight Macleod Trail Launch Site CANCELLED
    Sunrise: 7:28am | Sunset: 7:25pm 5:15pm Fiesta Flight Macleod Trail Launch Site COMPLETED
    Sunday, September 26 7:30am Fiesta Flight Macleod Trail Launch Site COMPLETED
    Sunrise: 7:30am | Sunset: 7:23pm -- -- -- DONE

    Launch Site Access

    Open legend for details, zoom in to see field details by the binoculars

    The nearest intersection is Macleod Tr SW and Deibert Close SW, High River

    Macleod-Trail-Launch-Site-2021-viewing-original

    Spectator Information

    • [2021] Please observe 2m distancing and masking is recommended.
    • All flights are weather dependent and will be cancelled if conditions are unsafe.
    • Pilots attend a flight briefing prior to every launch at the Heritage Inn Balloon Central
    • Watch the website and social media for information on whether a flight is cancelled, on stand-by, or a go.
    • When weather conditions are changing and variable, the decision to fly or not fly may be made at the last moment.
    • Launches may be on stand-by where weather conditions are not good for flying at the scheduled time but will improve shortly. 
    • Pilots and crew will arrive at the launch site for the Fiesta Flight shortly after the time noted in the Time column in the table above. 
    • Spectator parking is available on the residential streets near the launch site. See the map above. 
    • There will be a designated accessible parking section on the west end of Macleod Trail SW.
    • The number of spectators for each Fiesta Flight is unknown so we cannot predict how far away you will need to park.
    • Arriving 15-30 minutes ahead of the scheduled Fiesta Flight time is recommended.
    • While spectators cannot access the launch field, watching launches from outside the perimeter still offers a very up close and exciting experience.
    • Viewing on the south and east side of the perimeter is at field level. Viewing on the west and north side of the perimeter is above field level on the berm path.
    • Once launched, spectators can chase the chase vehicles to follow the balloons.
      • Please allow the chase vehicles to leave the field and remain
      • Remain a safe distance behind all chase vehicles. Chase vehicles need to follow their balloons.
      • UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES enter a landowner's property, including their driveway or field. This is private property. Remain on public roads at all times.
    • Please leave your pets at home! We love animals and hate to see them spooked by all the people and unpredictable sounds that the balloons make.
    • Remember your camera! There are lots of opportunities to capture amazing images.

    Volunteering

    Area residents and visitors alike are welcome to volunteer for the Festival, including as crew members for Festival pilots. The opportunity to crew offers an up-close experience with the hot air balloon flight.  From inflation to packing up, the experience will last a lifetime.  If you or your visitors are interested in volunteering, please complete a volunteer application.

    Passenger Rides

    ** SOLD OUT **

    Our passenger rides have sold out for 2021.

    An Experience to Remember

    Rides will be available for purchase starting September 07, 2021 at 7pm.

    Dates: A limited number of passenger rides will be available to purchase for Thursday - Sunday flights (September 23-26, 2021). They will be available on a first come, first serve basis.
    Price: $275 per person
    Times: Rides will be taken on scheduled flights. See the Festival Flight Schedule above for times.
    Purchase: Rides for flights during the Festival can be purchased on the Store page starting September 07, 2021 at 7pm.
    Passenger details to note:

    • [2021] Passengers, and all participants in the Festival, will be required to provide proof of being fully vaccinated.
    • Passengers, pilots, and chase crew are required to wear masks.
    • Tickets cannot be purchased for rides outside of the Festival dates and scheduled flights.
    • Due to basket size, rides will be a combination of one and two passengers. If you purchase multiple rides to be with family or friends, please anticipate you may be flying in different balloons. If you purchase a single ride, you may be flying with someone else. Children will be paired with a parent or guardian.
    • Children must be 12 years of age and accompanied by an adult.
    • Please block off up to 4 hours to experience the full pre-launch through post-landing experience. Time in the air flying varies as it depends on weather conditions at the time.
    • Passengers must be in good physical condition due to the possibility of a rough landing.
    • Passengers must be able to climb in and out of the basket, stand for the entire flight and walk out of a field if necessary.
    • Due to insurance restrictions, we cannot fly any passenger who has or recently had:
      • Surgery
      • Injuries
      • Hip, Back, or Knee Problems
      • Health Concerns
      • Physical Limitations
      • Severe Auditory Restrictions
      • Is/Or May be Pregnant

      Your safety is our top priority. COVID-19 related AHS health orders at the time of the Festival will be enforced.

    Cancellations and Refunds

    • Full refund back to your credit card:
      • Festival cancels a flight
    • Refund minus $25 handling fee back to your credit card:
      • Passenger cancels and notifies the Festival more than 48 hours ahead of flight
    • No refund:
      • Passenger cancels less than 48 hours ahead of flight. Note: The ride can be given to another person, as long as the Festival is notified so the new passenger can be sent necessary information.
      • Passenger is no show

    Your safety is our top priority. COVID-19 related AHS health orders at the time of the Festival will be enforced.

    On flight day!

    • Arrive early to get checked in, find your pilot assignment, etc. There is a lot of activity happening prior to launches.
      • Morning launches: 6:15am - 6:30am
      • Evening launches: 3:45pm - 4:00pm
    • Wear comfortable, weather appropriate clothing. September mornings are generally chilly and you'll be launching and likely landing in a field.
    • Do not smoke around the balloons! Beside the obvious flammable properties of propane, cigarette cherries damage balloons. These factors not only create a real danger to the pilots once they are in the air, but it also endangers you and others who are nearby.
    • Please do not step on the balloon material.
    • Please follow the instructions of the pilot, crew member or launch director. Be aware of where you are standing so as not to interfere with crew duties.
    • Please do not step over the crown line, envelope or gore lines between the basket and envelope. Move about the perimeter of the balloon if asked to move to another spot.

    The Balloon Glow

    ** CANCELLED **

    Due to the new provincial restrictions announced September 15, 2021, regrettably, the Balloon Glow has been cancelled.

    Friday, September 24, 2021

    A Magical Evening

    Feel the heat • Hear the blast • See the glow

    Come out and experience hot air balloons up close and personal.

    Date: Friday, September 24, 2021 • CANCELLED
    Price: Free
    Time: 5:00pm - 9:00pm - subject to change due to weather conditions
    Food:
    A variety of food trucks will be on site

    ♦ Rotate your mobile phone horizontally to view the table. ♦

    Date Time Activity Location Status
    Friday, September 24 5:00pm Balloon Glow festivities begin Macleod Trail Launch Site CANCELLED
    Sunrise: 7:24am | Sunset: 7:31pm 5:15pm Fiesta Flight - watch the launch Macleod Trail Launch Site CANCELLED
    7:00pm Balloon inflation on field Macleod Trail Launch Site CANCELLED
    7:30pm The Balloon Glow Macleod Trail Launch Site CANCELLED
    8:30pm Balloon Glow ends Macleod Trail Launch Site CANCELLED
    9:00pm Evening comes to a close Macleod Trail Launch Site CANCELLED

    Details are subject to change on a daily basis. Please watch the website and social media for on-going updates during the Festival.

    More details to come as we get closer to the date. 

    Safety for all our guests is a top priority. AHS protocols at the time will be followed.

    Balloon Glow FAQ

    Yes. Given current conditions, as part of the Festival's commitment to safety for everyone throughout the event, the Balloon Glow will be a mandatory mask event.

    Food vendors interested in attending the event please contact foodvendors.hiibf@gmail.com for additional information.

    Registered service animals may attend with their owner. Unfortunately, pets or companion animals are not allowed not allowed at the Balloon Glow.  

    Please be aware this is a high sensory stimulation environment.

    Map of suggested parking areas coming soon.

    Parking options for the Balloon Glow are:

    • Calgary Co-op on 12 Ave SW and ride the shuttle bus to the site
      • cost is $20 per vehicle
    • Downtown or SE High River and walk to the site
    • SW residential street parking and walk to the site
      • The streets are monitored by ATS and once available parking spots are full no more vehicle will be allowed to enter the area.

    There is a designated accessible parking area near the Balloon Glow site. Please bring your Service Alberta parking placard. You may need to walk a short distance for a better view of the field.

    The Balloon Glow is held at the launch field at the west end of Macleod Trail in High River. For a general idea o the location, this map is from 2018. An update map for 2021 will be available soon.

    GlowSiteMap_2018
    Heritage-Inn-International-Balloon-Festival-Logo-Retina-test
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