Traverse City Events: Grand Traverse Balloon Classic Lights up the Bay

Traverse City Events: To a kid, the sky is full of awesome stuff. Things like “Look a hawk!” or “Hey, there’s an airplane!” are often exclaimed by youngsters as they gaze at the sky, their imagination bursting through their pores. In the distance, a hot air balloon looks small, insignificant, and boring. But up close they’re huge, colorful, and enticing—so much so that everyone watching these vibrant globes rise up instantly morphs back to being a kid.

This weekend, everyone gets to do just that. June 17-19, the Grand Traverse Balloon Classic lights up the horizon over Grand Traverse Bay. On Friday, an evening fly out kicks off the weekend, and soon after an evening balloon glow—that’s when the balloons are illuminated at night by their burners—provides a great nightcap to the day. The fly out will begin at around 7:30 p.m. and the balloon glow will begin around 9:30 p.m.

On 18th, the fleet of approximately 25 balloons will take off at sunrise (6 a.m.) for the day. That evening, another fly out will occur again at 7:30 p.m. followed by another balloon glow (if you miss the festivities on the 17th, tonight’s your chance!) at 9:30 p.m.

The Classic’s final day, June 19, begins once more at sunrise (6 a.m.) in celebration of a classic Northern Michigan event. All events in the Grand Traverse Balloon Classic are open to the public and are free of charge. The launch site is tentative, dependent on weather and wind direction. If winds are out of the north, the Open Space in downtown Traverse City will function as the take off area, but if the winds are from the south, an alternate location will be determined.