Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Will I be able to ride in a balloon during the event?

A: Yes, since the number of rides we are able to offer each day depends on the weather we only have rides available for purchase the day-of the event. There are two options:

  1. Tethered Rides – We have multiple balloons that will be offering rides during the event and run until it is too breezy or too warm to safely carry passengers. Get in line at the balloon you wish to ride and you can pay with cash or credit card when you arrive at the front. The ride lasts ~10 minutes and is $20 for adults and $10 for children (under 10 years old). Children under 10 must be accompanied by an adult.
  2. Instant Sponsorship – Part of an instant sponsorship includes a full ride in a hot air balloon. Wave to thousands of your new closest friends as you lift off during the event. You can even help out the crew when you land if you wish. Availability in the balloons is very limited so listen for the announcer to say how many spots have opened up; the first people to the sponsor booth near the stage will be able to take the spot. Instant sponsorship is the same price as a normal commercial balloon ride, $250. Cash and credit card accepted. We are a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit so your cash donation is likely tax-deductible.


Q: I purchased a ticket for the wrong day, may I go a different day?

A: Yes, online ticket sales are split up by day to help us estimate the number of people each day. If your schedule changes you may use the ticket a different day that year; the ticket is only good for one of the days.


Q: May I take photos?

A: Certainly yes! The balloons provide an amazing photo opportunity that provide extremely colorful photos. If you have any great photos you want to share please do so:

Facebook: /SonomaCountyBalloons
Twitter: /SonomaBalloons
Instagram: #SCHABC


Q: May I bring my dog to the event?

A: Sorry, No dogs or other animals are allowed into the event due to health department regulations. Service dogs will be allowed.


Q: Is the event really that early in the morning?

A: Yes, we know it is an early event. Balloons can only launch with light winds, enough visibility, and they will not have enough lift once it gets warm enough during the day. In Sonoma County this means our cool calm morning are perfect. It may be tough to roll out of bed for the 5 AM dawn patrol or event the 6: 30 AM main launch but everyone who makes it out soon learns it is well worth it once a year. There will be plenty of food and drink vendors at the event to help east that early rise.


Q: Should I bring a blanket or chairs to sit on?

A: Yes, the morning dew can sometime mean damp grass on the launch field so you are welcome to bring blankets to sit on. You may being chairs but not onto the launch field. If you are sitting on the lunch field be prepared to need to move to allow a balloon crew room to launch a balloon.


Q: May my baby / child take a tethered ride?

A: Pilots are responsible for the safety of their riders and balloon baskets have a variety of configurations. We do not set hard limits on who can ride, that is up to the pilot to determine who s/he can safely take up. Please ask the people selling the tickets for the tethered rides if your child is OK for this balloon.


Q: What is the launch schedule and is it the same both days?

A: Yes, both Saturday and Sunday have the same general schedule. The times below are all dependant on the weather:

5:00 AM – Dawn Patrol (balloons launch in the dark and glow like massive lanterns)6:00 AM – Tethered rides commence
6:30 AM – Main balloon launch
~10:30 AM – event wraps up when the temperature or breeze picks up too much to launch balloons

Q: Is the event handicap accessible?

A: Yes,we have handicap parking, wheelchair ramps, and the event takes place on relatively flat ground. Not all balloon baskets have a wheelchair access door.

Q: May I bring in food and drinks?

A: Yes, but per Windsor parks ordinance glass containers are not allowed. Please keep the park clean and toss all trash / recycling in the appropriate containers.

Q: May I use my drone at the event?

A: No, the event is an FAA restricted airspace. Drones may not be flown.