There’s something almost magical about a hot air balloon. The Sikeston Hot Air Balloon Festival brings this magic to the Jaycee Rodeo Grounds for a fun-filled weekend of balloon glows, tethered balloon rides, a beer and wine garden, and live music.

hot air balloons illuminated at night
During the balloon glow, tethered hot air balloons are illuminated to reveal jewel-tone hues against the night sky.
Photo by David Jenkins


By Natalie-Elizabeth Tan

The second annual Sikeston Hot Air Balloon Festival will take to the skies next weekend. From June 21–22, the Jaycee Rodeo Grounds will be awash in color, with hot air balloons, live music, a variety of food and craft vendors, a wine and beer garden, and kid-friendly activities like face painting, mini golf, a bounce house, and more.

Admission is $5 per person each day, although children 10 and under can enter for free. The festival is also a cash-only event with no advance ticket sales, so do keep that in mind.

At sunset, kick back on the festival grounds and watch the majestic balloon glow—balloons tethered to the ground are lit up, allowing you to see the colors up close against the vast night sky. It’s something you have to see for yourself. “I think the Balloon Glow is amazing to witness,” says Taylor Deere, a director with the Sikeston Regional Chamber. “Pictures truly don’t do it justice, and I can’t wait to get to experience it again!”

a blond toddler eats some cotton candy
A young hot air balloon enthusiast enjoys a sweet treat at the Sikeston Hot Air Balloon Festival.
Photo by Kathy Medley

On Friday, local talents Double Take, sixteen-year-old twin musicians, will take the stage. And on Saturday, the musical act is Genx, a Generation X tribute rock band. They’ll be playing several of the English rock band’s greatest hits from the ’70s and ’80s, so get ready to get your groove on.

Those seeking a (moderate) thrill can embark on a tethered hot air balloon ride, which will take you up, up and away … to a height of 50 feet. 

The inaugural Sikeston Hot Air Balloon Festival drew a crowd of 10,000 people last year, an impressive number considering that the city has about 17,000 residents. Organizers say this year’s festival will be even bigger and better, so prepare to be blown away when you visit!

Feature image courtesy of Daniel Byrd.