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FAQ's

We want to you have the best experience possible. Here are a couple of frequently asked questions and their answers. If you have any additional questions, feel free to stop by the information booth at the event.  

Frequently asked questions

How many balloons will be there?


There will be 16* balloons inflating each morning, weather permitting. *Due to fire and possibility of travel restrictions we are down from 25 to 16 balloons.




1. What time will they launch?


The balloons will inflate around 6 am each morning.

The Town of Pinetop-Lakeside, out of an abundance of caution due to the extreme fire conditions, late Wednesday announced all morning balloon launches during this weekend’s White Mountains Balloon Festival have been canceled. While the balloons will not take flight, the pilots still will set up their balloons Friday through Sunday morning at 6:00 a.m. at Mountain Meadow Recreation Complex to allow the public to see the balloons inflate and ask questions of the pilots. This practice is referred to as a “static tether.”

The evening activities Friday and Saturday will not be affected.




Is there anything that will keep the balloons from launching?


WEATHER!! If there are any adverse weather conditions, the balloons will not be able to fly. Winds over 10 mph can keep the balloons grounded.

The Town of Pinetop-Lakeside, out of an abundance of caution due to the extreme fire conditions, late Wednesday announced all morning balloon launches during this weekend’s White Mountains Balloon Festival have been canceled. While the balloons will not take flight, the pilots still will set up their balloons Friday through Sunday morning at 6:00 a.m. at Mountain Meadow Recreation Complex to allow the public to see the balloons inflate and ask questions of the pilots. This practice is referred to as a “static tether.”




Can I ride in a balloon?


We are able to have this festival due to the generosity of our sponsors. Balloon rides are reserved for sponsors and their designated guest.




Where do the balloons land?


The direction and eventual landing location of the balloons is determined by the wind. You can view our flight path predictions at here. The balloons generally fly for about an hour.




Are there any balloon activities during the day?


Balloons cannot fly during the heat of the day. All morning flights are completed by 8am. The festival grounds will close each day at 8:30am. The festival will reopen at 6pm on Friday and 4pm on Saturday. The balloons will glow around 8pm each night. You can view the full event schedule here.




What else will be at the festival?


The evening festival activities will include live music, retail vendors, food vendors, and a beer garden. (In addition to the balloon glow)




Will there be food?


Yes, food vendors will be onsite.




Will there be alcohol?


Yes, a beer and wine garden will be onsite. (You must show proof of age)




Is this event open to children?


Yes, while there are not many kid focused activities this is a family friendly event.




Are dogs allowed at this event?


While we advise against it, dogs are allowed at the event. The festival can get very crowded and the balloons can be quite loud. If you feel that this could scare your dog, it would be best not to bring them. All animals must be kept on a leash at all times and you must pick up after them. If an animal causes a disturbance, the animal and owner will be asked to leave.




Can we pay vendors with credit cards?


Many vendors accept credit cards. However, the data service to process online transactions can be very unreliable at this location. We strongly suggest bringing cash for purchases.




Is there a cost to attend the festival?


No. Attendance is FREE! Please avoid anyone trying to sell tickets to this event. That is a scam.




What should I bring?


This is a BYOS event. BRING YOUR OWN SEATING. We suggest a picnic blanket or camp chairs. Don’t forget your camera!




Can we bring our own food and drink?


No. You will not be allowed to bring food and beverages (other than water) into the event. We ask that you support the vendors participating in the festival.




Are hot air balloons safe in extreme fire conditions?


Hot air balloons are classified as Federally Registered Aircraft and as such must adhere to the safety requirements prescribed by the FAA. The balloon envelopes are made of flame retardant material and all pilots carry fire extinguishers in the balloon basket. Balloons are powered by propane and the tanks are equipped with a shutoff valve that will immediately cut the flame’s fuel source if necessary.

Organizers of the White Mountains Balloon Festival have worked in concert with the Timber Mesa Fire Department, Pinetop Fire Department, Navajo County Emergency Management, the U. S. Forest Service, and local law enforcement agencies to create a safety plan. Each of these agencies has given approval for the balloons to fly.

The potential for a balloon-caused fire poses a much smaller risk than vehicles dragging chains, abandoned or illegal campfires, shooting firearms or even using a backyard charcoal grill. And, because we know the flight path the balloons will follow, emergency crews are able to respond within seconds in the case of an emergency.

This event is organized by people who live and work here in the community, and they have the safety of our area as their top priority.





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