After a successful Galt Balloon Festival launch last year, the Galt District Chamber of Commerce is hosting its second annual Galt Balloon Festival Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 10-11.

Festival gates open at 5 a.m., and the balloons are set to take flight just after sunrise. Full balloon rides are only offered to VIP sponsors; however, tethered rides will be available, first-come first-served, at the festival grounds for $10.

Festival officials have added two additional balloons, a total of four, for tethering this year; however, the early bird gets the worm, so to speak, so be sure you arrive early and get in line for the opportunity for a tethered ride.

Not able to take a ride? No problem, set up and liftoff of the balloons are treats in and of themselves. Ground crews will lie out each balloon across the grounds and then start to fill the balloon, called an envelope, with air. When the envelope is part way filled, the burners will be ignited to finish filling the balloon and start lifting it up off the ground. Arrive early enough, and you may be able to lend a helping hand to the ground crew and help make history as part of this event.

Festivalgoers will be able to walk among the balloons before they take off. Pilots are shooting for a 6 a.m. liftoff; however, weather conditions have a vast influence on whether or not balloons can take flight.

What may seem like perfect conditions on the ground can prove detrimental to a balloon filled with hot air. Temperatures too cold or too warm can ground a balloon, as can breezes that may feel light on the ground but powerful gusts once higher up.

After the balloons take flight, be sure to stop by the chamber’s booth to purchase your very own limited edition Galt Balloon Festival pin and T-shirt, and then visit the many other vendor booths onsite.

Being held out at the Galt Area Historical Society’s McFarland Living History Ranch, the festival promises to bring early morning fun for all, featuring the majestic hot air balloons.

McFarland ranch is located at 8899 Orr Road.

Parking permits are required at the event and can be purchased at local businesses in town; however, the VIP parking passes are almost gone. Free parking is offered at Galt Market grounds, 610 Chabolla Avenue, where you can take a free shuttle ride to and from the festival. Event tickets are just $10 a person if purchased in advance or $15 at the gate; kids under 5 are free. Advance tickets can be purchased at the Galt District Chamber of Commerce office, Barsetti Vineyards Tasting Room, L’Chayim, River Rock Brewery, Express Type & Graphics, The Coffee Shop Bakery and State Farm Insurance. Not all locations take credit cards, so call ahead; otherwise, head to the Chamber office for your credit card transaction. Tickets can also be purchased on, just search for Galt Balloon Festival.