5 Tips for Taking Your Kids to the Tigard Festival of Balloons

I have a confession to make. Although I’ve lived in Tigard for the last five years, I’ve never been to the 3-day extravaganza, better known as the Festival of Balloons.

But this year is different. Why? Because I have a kiddo that’s old enough to enjoy everything the festival offers.

Since I’m still a newbie, I consulted with other local parents to compile the following tips for taking your kids to the Tigard Festival of Balloons.

It’s More than Balloons

It’s called a Festival for a reason. The balloons aren’t on-site during the day (you’ll have to catch the morning launch or the nightly glow.)

But don’t worry, there is PLENTY to do during the days with live music, local vendors, carnival rides and games, a Kid Action Zone, plus plenty of space for a picnic, and more.

Timing is Everything (when viewing the balloons)

Due to weather and other factors, the balloons aren’t around during the day.

If you head over super early (I’m talking 5:45 am), you can see the hot air balloons launch in the mornings. Keep in mind, you’ll need to park first. The suggested arrival time is about 5:15 am.

While that hour may seem kind of crazy, kids and parents alike say that it’s a spectacle worth the early wake-up.


When the balloons fire up, it can get loud. Give the kids a heads up (especially if they’re young or are sensitive to noise stimulation), so they don’t get startled and miss the best part.

If you don’t have early risers, consider attending the daily Night Glow. While the balloons don’t fly, their burners are ignited, making it a remarkable “glowing” experience.

Friday Sees Shorter Lines

The Tigard Balloon Festival attracts thousands of visitors from all other the state. That being said, Saturday and Sunday see the most guests.

Fridays are slightly less crowded and make for shorter lines. If your kids are old enough to enjoy the rides, there’s an unlimited ride wristband available at a Friday-only rate (online.)

Strollers and wagons are allowed, but if you’re like me, you’ll end up wearing the baby anyway.

Purchase Tickets Online

You can buy your tickets in advance. You’ll save time (yay!) and money, to the tune of $3/person (double yay!)

Kids 6 and under are free.

Pack a Picnic

Food vendors are on-site and are a good idea for post-launch breakfasts, but you can bring your own food and non-alcoholic drinks as well. Chairs are welcome, but it’s easier (packing-wise) to bring a blanket and enjoy a family picnic.

We’d love to hear your tips for enjoying the Tigard Festival of Balloons with kids. Leave us a comment on Facebook or Instagram.

Katie Carrick is a scientist turned stay at home(ish) child wrangler and freelance writer. She lives in Beaverton with her husband, two small children, and their yappy but lovable dog. You can read more from Katie on her blog, Raised on Love and Science, and on Facebook and Instagram @raisedonloveandscience.

Katie Carrick
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