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Balloons Over 66 in Lincoln 2024, Illinois

A new festival in Illinois with over 30 hot air balloons

Dates: August 23–25, 2024

Balloons Over 66 in Lincoln
Balloons in Lincoln

Balloons Over 66 is a new festival in Logan County meant to replace the Lincoln Balloon Festival, which was discontinued in 2017. The fun weekend event features hot-air balloon launches at various locations around town. Its main attraction is the balloon launch and the night glow, featuring a multitude of balloons floating in the air.

Hot-Air Balloon Launches

The highlight of this exciting festival is the ballooning activities, such as balloon launches, rides, and the spectacular balloon night glow display. Whether the balloons will be tethered or fly up into the sky depends on the weather conditions.

Balloon launches usually take place at Lincoln Park District in the early morning and evening, at 6:15 am and 6 pm. The morning launches kick off only on Saturday and Sunday, while the evening launches run during all three days of the festival. Over 30 balloons are present at the festival, with pilots traveling from all over the U.S. to participate.

Hare & Hound Competition

If you've never seen a hare & hound target competition, the Balloons Over 66 festival is a great chance to witness it. During this contest, participants will chase after the previously selected hare balloon, which drops markers on the ground. The contestants need to drop their markers as close to the target ones as possible. The hare & hound competition is scheduled as part of the morning launch on Saturday at 6:15 am.

Night Glow

The Night Glow offers a mesmerizing sight of dozens of illuminated balloons dotting the dark canopy of the night sky. The tethered balloons hover a few feet above the ground. The balloon glow takes place on a Saturday evening, at 8 or 8:30 pm.

Balloon Festival Program

In addition to ballooning, visitors can enjoy live music on the stage usually set up on the corner of Pulaski & Kickapoo Street, an art fair hosted by the Lincoln Art Institute, and a vendor show, including a Pulled Pork fundraiser. Running enthusiasts can take part in Balloons Over 66 5K in Lincoln Park District.

You can also participate in or observe various thrilling contests, such as Dock Dogs Competition, Up in Smoke BBQ Competition, Logan County Steak Cookoff, and Balloons Over 66 Bags Tournament. There's even an opportunity to experience being in an inflated balloon. And of course, children will have a fair share of their own activities, for example, blow-up castles and all kinds of inflatables.

Food Selection

The food at the Balloons Over 66 never ceases to impress attendees with its variety. Ranging from curly fries, pizza, and BBQ at the food trucks to pastries and Italian food at one of the many restaurants in town, everyone will have something to satisfy their hunger at this celebration.


Mass balloon ascensions are scheduled at 6 pm on Friday, as well as at 6:15 am and 6 pm on Saturday and Sunday. The beautiful balloon glow takes place at 8 pm or 8:30 pm to conclude the festival. The art fair runs from 5 to 8 pm on Friday and from 10 am to 5 pm on Saturday and Sunday. The vendor show takes place on Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm and features a Pulled Pork fundraiser scheduled from 11 am to 2 pm.


The balloons launch from the Lincoln Park District, while most of the events take place in Downtown Lincoln at Broadway Street. The vendor show is set to take place in the Oasis Center. The Arts & Crafts fair takes place at the Lincoln Arts Institute.

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