Hot Air Balloon Race

Young and Old alike love the Arkansas Hot Air Balloon Race! It is a sight to see and even if you don’t attend, you’re more than likely to see giant balloons flowing gracefully over the city skyline from many different vantage points.

The Harrison Regional Chamber of Commerce will host the 19th Annual Arkansas Hot Air Balloon State Championship in September 2014 in the Ozark Mountains.

This unique outdoor event that began in 1995 is held in beautiful downtown Harrison, Arkansas. The Festival will kick off on Friday evening with the Hare and the Hound Balloon Race. Saturday evening events will begin with balloons tethered to the ground for the exciting balloon glow. Tethered rides are offered for $5 a person on SATURDAY evening this year! The event will continue through Sunday with several Balloon Race Competitions for all to enjoy. Come experience the “Hot Air Balloon Adventure” with us! Bring your kids, your cameras, and your lawn chairs for some great family fun!

For more information call the Chamber at 870.741.2659 or the Harrison CVB at 870.741.1789. You may also visit their website at

All Balloon Events are subject to weather conditions.

A hot air balloon glow is when the balloons are set up and inflated at night or dusk, and the pilots light the inside of the balloon with the propane burner used to create the hot air that causes the balloons to fly. The flames from the burner cause the colorful balloon envelopes to glow in the dark. The balloons due not actually take off, so the pilots can only run the burner for a short time and then let it cool down to keep from lifting off. The events now known as “balloon glows” are an amazing sight to see.

HARE AND HOUND RACE – One balloon takes off first and is the hare balloon. The other balloons are called the hounds, and they will launch at predetermined times after the hare. The hare lands at a suitable site and lays out a large fabric X, usually about 50 feet in diameter. The hound balloons attempt to drop their markers as close to the center of the X as possible. The closest marker achieves the highest score.

KEY GRAB – A detachable ring is fastened to the top of a pole 10 or 20 feet high in the air and is the pilot’s target. The first pilot who removes the ring wins the prize.

Note: Many local families like to load up the kids and try to anticipate where different balloons may land.  Watching the travel teams pack up the balloons after landing is an event in and of itself!