Great Galena Balloon Race 2024

Join in on a beloved Galena tradition this June at the 2024 Great Galena Balloon Race! This exciting event welcomes summer to the region every year, the 3rd weekend in June with more than 20 hot air balloons and three days of fun. June 21st through the 23rd, 2024 in Galena, IL.

There’s always something fun to do or see in Galena but there’s nothing quite like the annual hot air balloon race. The event has been going on since 2002 and offers a variety of unique and fascinating, family-friendly attractions. Hot air balloon rides and races, nightglows, a classic car show, an annual art show and sale, live entertainment, food, drink, and more.

If you’ve never experienced one of these colorful hot air balloons, much less twenty or more, up close and personal, you’re in for a real treat! They look so small up in the air but will shock you with their majestic size, in person.  They’re even more entrancing during the nightglow shows; like some giant’s decorative lanterns hanging magically in the air. Gorgeous.

Even better, the event is for a good cause, raising more than $350,000 for childhood diabetes since 2002. This makes attending not only a lot of fun but also a good deed!

Perhaps best of all, it all takes place just a little over ten minutes from our Galena bed and breakfast, Hawk Valley Retreat.

Not Just Hot Air

The hot air balloons are definitely the star of the show but that’s not the only reason to attend – not by a long shot!

Automobile enthusiasts will get a thrill at Saturday night’s Classic Car Show. This event is hosted by three of the region’s car clubs and features a wide variety of absolutely beautiful classic and custom cars.

Saturday also includes the Great Galena Art Sale, featuring a variety of artworks from some of the region’s very best artists. Enjoy perusing the collected works and meeting and chatting with the artists under the big tent. A wonderful opportunity to purchase one of a kind gifts and stunning art for your own home.

Attendees will also be treated to live music from popular local groups on Friday and Saturday night. Bring some lawn chairs or spread a blanket out on the grass to enjoy the bands while you watch the balloons. You can even make a picnic of it with the nice selection of food and drink available for purchase. A truly magical summer experience.

2024 Great Galena Balloon Race Schedule

a lone balloon at Great Galena Balloon Race

Friday, June 21
5pm – Gates open
5pm-9pm – Inflatables for the kids
5:30pm – Live music: The Wundo Band
6:00pm – Hot Air Balloon Race Begins
8:30pm – Hot Air Balloon Nightglow
10pm – Gates Close

Saturday, June 22
5am – Crack of Dawn Balloon Race
5pm – Gates open
5pm-9pm – Great Galena Art Sale, Inflatables for the kids
5:30pm – Live music: TBA
6pm – Classic Car Show
6pm – Hot Air Balloons Fly
8:30pm – Hot Air Balloon Nightglow
10pm – Gates Close

Sunday, June 23
5am – Crack of Dawn Balloon Race

Admission to this event is $10 for adults, $5 for kids – cash only. Visit the event website for tickets and more information. You can also find this event on Facebook.

The 2024 Great Galena Balloon Race is held at 400 Eagle Ridge Drive, just a short distance from Hawk Valley Retreat. Relax and enjoy yourself at the Race knowing you’re just minutes from the quiet comfort and amenities of  your room at Hawk Valley Retreat. What a great way to kick off the summer!