inside of hot air balloon

Cave Creek Balloon Festival: The Place to Glow

Writer Lara Piu


When my daughter was a wee one, my father would ritually take her outside, hold her high in his arms, and together they would point and yell, “Balloooooon!” as hot air balloons flew above my house. But you don’t have to be a child to appreciate hot air balloons. They tend to stir up the light side in anyone. Big, colorful and bright, hot air balloons rise above the fray and elevate us to a higher perspective.

During Memorial Day weekend, you can get up close and personal with these monstrous marvels at the Cave Creek Balloon Festival. Presented by Tonto Bar and Grill and Aerial Solutions, the eighth annual event will be held at Rancho Mañana Golf Course’s driving range from 5:30 to 10 p.m. Saturday, May 27.

At around 7:30 p.m., eight massive glowing balloons, some with one-of-a-kind shapes, will light up the Sonoran Desert sky in Cave Creek’s largest one-day event. It will also feature food trucks, live bands, and a fan-favorite fireworks show that will fill the sky with red, white and blue.

Arrive early to settle in with your low-profile lawn chair in at the main stage lawn area for the Civil Air Patrol color guard presentation and a flyover by Deer Valley Composite Squadron 302. Madison Holmes, a local up-and-coming singer/songwriter will perform at 5:30 p.m., and later she’ll kick the evening off with her rendition of the national anthem.

The Anglim Sisters and native Arizonan Harry Luge and his country band will perform on the main stage. A cross between the gritty nature of Travis Tritt with the soul of Waylon Jennings and powerhouse vocals of Pat Green, Harry has opened for well-known artists including Merle Haggard, Brad Paisley, Eric Church, Chris LeDoux, Neal McCoy, Martina McBride, and Montgomery Gentry.

A kids’ zone will feature free face painting and balloon twisting, and pay-to-play bouncy house inflatables.

Food from local food trucks like Grilled Addiction, Wandering Donkey, Fry Bread Inc., Doughlicious Pizza, Cheese Love and Happiness, The Buffalo Chip, Firehouse Kettle Corn and Cotton Candy, Firehouse Shaved Ice, Affogato Coffee, and Frosted Frenzy Cupcakes will also be on hand. Beverages will include cocktails, wine and Four Peaks Brewery craft beer.

Event Timeline
5:30 p.m.
Gates open
Live music by Madison Holmes

6:30 p.m.
Arizona Wing Civil Air Patrol color guard presentation
Flyover by Deer Valley Composite Squadron 302
National anthem performed by Madison Holmes

6:45 p.m.
Live music from the Anglim Sisters

7:30 p.m.
Balloons start to inflate, come to life and glow. Glow lasts for about 90 minutes.

8 p.m.
Harry Luge performs

9 p.m.

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