Lake Havasu Balloon Festival – Review

This festival was scheduled for January 2020, the festival is celebrating its tenth year, general admission is $15, for a wrist band good for entry for all four days. It brags of having 70 balloons, and runs Thursday thru Sunday. So as far as pricing it would easily fall into the inexpensive category. There were some $45 to $65 VIP pass that is only good for one day, these passes provides you front row seating and parking. To park the coach was $200 for a spot from Tuesday thru Monday it included the RV plus one vehicle it also came with two wrist bands. It is dry camping in a parking lot that is on a first come first pick spot unless you book as a group, then the organizers pick a row in the parking lot and put all your group in one row. The parking lot was not level and because of the angle of rows are not solar harvest friendly so it means no end to the generator noise.

The actually scheduled festival events were to start at noon on Thursday and runs until early afternoon on Sunday, the festival had scheduled a never ending line up of entertainment at the main stage, while an amazing site to see when a mass ascension takes place there is a lot of time between the planned balloon events. This was one of the events we were looking forward to since booking this stop last fall, while Albuquerque is the largest event with up to 500 balloons but being an October event it makes it almost impossible for us being Canadians to get to if our plan is to winter in the States. So this seemed like a great option, and while I understand everything is dependent on weather and wind, it seemed to us that most of the balloon pilots did not want to travel far to land, as when the mass ascension did finally take place most only travelled a couple of miles to the island, where they landed after a short flight time.

So in review…the wrist band is a great value for four days of entry, and if the weather co-operates to inflate the balloons and being that close to the action is amazing. The events that were happening through the parks are almost country fair like…and had it been warmer and had we not been recovering from our colds maybe we would have been spent some time there. There were vendors selling lots of products, we walked through but having spent many weekends at vendor shows it’s was just a lot of the same. The parking lot camping was not a good value, there was to be shuttle busses but they were few and far between, so we walked the mile and a half most times, the noise of generators running all day long was ridiculous, most had quiet units but a few had near construction noise level old Champion generators. So a much better option would be BLM land with a zero cost and drive to the parking lots where there were more shuttles and a wrist band purchase, the benefit of camping there was pavement instead of sand seemed like a good idea, but the noise was unbelievable and a large put off. We were disappointed that the balloon pilots were unable to get in the air except the final morning.

So in closing we would not schedule this event again, we would go get a day pass if we were in the area and the weather was co-operating, could be better if a group was involved to help fill the time between events but the dry camping at $170 was not a good value…just saying

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