Balloons Over Bend Event Showcases Floating Beauty

heeb balloons over bend
Photo by Christian Heeb

Before dawn, a team of handlers begin their work with a thin, nylon work of art.

After pulling the fabric, rope and wicker basket from a trailer, it’s all carefully spread out across the ground as a small crowd starts to gather.

The early morning silence is interrupted by the sound of a generator buzzing, powering a fan that blows cold air into the balloon to help it slowly take shape. A propane burner blasts some hot air into the shell. Soon, it starts to peel away from the ground and rise before your eyes. The big ones can reach some 100 feet tall; a skyscraper of colors in an open field.

Eventually, more hot air is released, sending the balloon into flight.

There’s just something about a hot air balloon – whether tethered on the ground or afloat in the sky – that captivates us. Majestic, vibrant, awe-inspiring.

You can experience the feeling firsthand in Bend and Sunriver this summer during two annual hot air balloon events that give you an up-close and personal look.

Balloons over Bend happens July 28-30 with sunrise launches, beautiful nightglow events and more. The Bend event features a Children’s Festival benefitting a local charity. There will be tons of games, hands-on learning opportunities and more at Riverbend Park.

SCHEDULE (weather permitting)

  • July 28th – R.E. Jewell Elementary in Bend – Rise with the sun and catch the balloons lift off at sunrise
  • July 28th – Riverbend Park in Bend – The balloons are filled with ignited propane to light up the sky during the Nightglow event.
  • July 29th – Sunrise Launch at R.E. Jewell
  • July 29th – Children’s Festival at Riverbend Park – Games, bouncy houses, a bike rodeo, crafts & more
  • July 29th – Sunriver Resort – Dusk – Experience the Nightglow event with Mt. Bachelor and the Three Sisters as a backdrop
  • July 30th – Sunrise Launch at R.E. Jewell

If you want a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience, check out Big Sky Balloon Company. They offer hour-long scenic hot air balloon flight over some of Central Oregon’s most breathtaking scenery.

Balloon + Bachelor

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The Central Oregon Visitors Association (COVA) is the "Official" Tourism Information Resource for Central Oregon, including the communities of Bend, Sunriver, Redmond, Sisters, La Pine, Madras, Prineville, Crooked River Ranch, Terrebonne, Culver and Black Butte Ranch. Most of the stories posted online can be found in the Official Central Oregon Visitors Guide.
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