The Eyes to the Skies is an annual Hot Air Balloon Festival held in the western suburbs of Chicago,Illinois. Hot air Balloons are among the most popular summer bucket list items to check out.
Up, up and away !
Where is there a hot air balloon festival?
The wildly popular, visually stunning “Eyes to the Skies Festival“ returns to the western suburbs of Chicago next summer.
West suburban, Lisle is hosting the Hot Air balloon festival for the 37th year, early in July,2021 featuring hot-air balloons, music, food, arts & crafts and kid’s activities.
If you are planning on summer events to attend, as the weather gets warmer, this Hot Air Balloon Festival would definitely be on my summer bucket list.Let me assure you , it will be a ride you remember for a lifetime!
If you are in or around the Chicago area, don’t miss it in summer, it is a fun event for the family, the kids and adults alike love the excitement.
What can we expect at a hot air ballon festival?
The Eyes to the Skies Balloon Festival displays a wide variety of balloons including sport balloons, specialty shape balloons, and sponsored balloons.There are about 20- 30 balloons and balloonists who visit regularly each year to fly their balloons.
Where and when is the’Eyes to The Skies’ festival held?
Balloon rides are offered to the public early in the morning (6.00AM onwards ) and in the evening ( 6PM) and is completely weather dependent!
- When : July 2,3rd – July 4th, 2021
- Where : Lisle Community Park located at 1825 Short Street in Lisle, IL 60532.
- Hours : Morning Balloon Launch and Tethered Rides (5:30 AM to 8:30 AM) FREE ADMISSION
Festival (12:00 PM to 11:00 PM)
Kids Area (12:00 PM to 7:00 PM)
Evening Balloon Launch and Glow (5:30 PM to 9:00 PM)
Evening Balloon Tethered Rides (5:30 PM to 11:00 PM)
Fireworks (9:45 PM)
The Balloon Field Layout
For the first timers who are visiting the Eyes to the Skies Festival, it is important to know the Balloon Field layout.
When one enters the field, the display balloons will be on the right and the tethered balloons on the left of you.
Balloon inflations will happen on both sides of the field, the glow and some launches will take place from the display side of the field.The tethered balloons will always be secured to the ground.
The launches that take place from the display side are NOT open to the public for rides, while the tethered balloon always are !
Tethered Balloon Rides
Just as the name suggests the tethered balloons are always secured to the ground at multiple points and will not fly off the ground. During tethered rides, they do rise off the ground 50 feet or so, remaining up in the air for a short period of time allowing one to have a panoramic view of the festival.
The Balloon Pilot determines if the weather conditions are favorable to fly the tethered balloons, so if there is rain or heavy winds predicted be prepared for delay or cancellation of your tickets for the ride with full reimbursement.
Tickets: Tethered Rides ($20.00 per adult/child – Cash Only)
The morning rides for the Eyes to the Skies Festival, are less crowded and one could just walk in and purchase the ticket and they do not require the $10 festival admission, however the evening scene is a little different.
The evening flights and glows will require a paid admission. Being summer time, you can expect larger crowds and families with children.
To avoid waiting in line for an opportunity to fly, and to enjoy the festival to its fullest, the organizing committee does offer a numbered voucher/reservation system for the tethered rides.
There is a waiver that must be signed by all riders in the presence of festival staff. If a rider is less than 18 years of age, the parent or guardian must sign the waiver for the minor. Any child under the age of 12 must be accompanied by a paid adult on the tethered ride.
Venue : All flights of The Eyes to The Skies Festival, will originate at the Lisle Park District Community Park or attempt to fly towards the park
Tethered Hot-Air Balloon Rides for people with disabilities
The wheelchair accessible hot-air balloon, Serena’s Song, will inflate on the field outside of the festival grounds on Short street, near the east entrance off of Rt. 53. One need not enter the festival for access to the balloon.
Free tethered rides are available to people with physical and developmental disabilities. A family member or attendant may share in this exciting experience. Each ride takes approximately 15 minutes.
For details on scheduling and registering earlier for this ride, please call SEASPAR at 630-960-7600 for additional information or go to seaspar.org
Every year the Festival has a large carnival providing a wide variety of rides, games and attractions for children and adults of just about all ages.
To enter the carnival for free, you must go through the West Gate entrance (off the Yackley Ave. side). Carnival entry is not permitted through the East gate and North Gates !
How much does it cost for the hot air balloon rides?
Individual Ride Tickets: $1.00 per ticket
$20.00 per 21 tickets
$40.00 per 44 tickets
Wristband Days : Wednesday June 27 and Thursday June 28 are wristband days. $25.00 each day and are good for all rides open to close, 5:00 pm to 11:00 pm. (days subject to change. Check site info)
Megapass is good for rides all 5 days of the carnival
What do you do at the Hot air balloon festival?
Apart from the exciting balloon rides, there are lot of things to do for both kids and adults alike. Music, food, craft shows and fireworks are all part of the merriment of a summer festival, celebrating the 4th of July
Firework show celebrating the Nation’s birthday is on every night from July 4th- July 6th.Fireworks are launched south of the hot air balloon field and are viewable from anywhere in the Festival grounds.
The Craft Fair
The Craft Fair will be located on Short St. west of the bridge and east of the carnival/main Festival entrance, bringing together local and national crafters to sell artwork, jewelry and clothing .
With over 50 food vendors that specialize in a wide variety of tantalizing flavors, from typical ribs and pulled pork sandwiches, to the more exotic fried Oreos and a Pork-Chop on a Stick, there are so many mouth watering choices for festival goers to choose from. Though outside food is not permitted within festival grounds , special consideration is given to those with severe food allergies and Celiac disease who provide a doctor’s note.
Location and Parking
( information obtained from official site)
| The Festival is located in Lisle Community Park located at 1825 Short Street in Lisle, IL 60532. |
Since there is no parking on the grounds ,one must use the remote lot for access to the Festival.
Metra Train Access :
You can also take the Burlington Northern Metra Train to downtown Lisle and walk roughly a half mile to the Festival (10 to 15 minute walk).
If you arrive via train, you will want to walk West of the train station to Main Street, and turn left / walk South down Main Street until you hit Short Street, and then turn right / head West on Short Street. Short Street dead-ends into Main Street, so you can only go West on Short Street. Once you cross Route 53 you will enter the park and shortly thereafter the Festival grounds.
Uber & Lyft :
The designated Uber and Lift drop-off point for the Festival is at the remote lot at Benet Academy located at 2200 Maple Avenue, Lisle, IL 60532. From this point it is a very short shuttle bus ride into the Festival. This is the only authorized area to use. No access will be given to other restricted areas of the festival.
Parking Lots :
There is parking at 2 locations with free shuttle buses taking visitors to the front entrance of the festival.Shuttles run during festival hours only! Shuttle buses start running 30 minutes before gates open.
For early morning balloon launches 5:30am – 9:30am from Benet Lot
At College Rd. /Yackley Ave. and Maple Ave.
2200 Maple Ave, Lisle, IL 60532
Benedictine Dr, Lisle, IL 60532
2601 Navistar Dr. Lisle, IL 60532
FREE PARKING just outside of the West ticket booth.
1925 Ohio St, Lisle, IL 60532 (Enter from the West off of Yackley Avenue)
Many local businesses now sell parking spaces near the Eyes to the Skies Festival for a price.If you are paying for parking, you are not using one of the assigned festival lots, which is free!
Special on-site secured parking for motorcycles is available for free. To reach the parking site, take Yackley Avenue to Ohio Street, turn east and follow staff directions to the site.
Available at the North gate only. A fenced area will be provided to
park and chain one’s bicycle. However, space is limited and it is available on a first come first serve basis. The Festival will not be responsible for
lost or stolen property or bicycles stored in that space.
Handicapped accessible parking is available, but one must have a handicapped license plates or a State issued permit to qualify.
Take Ogden to Yackley Avenue. Go south on Yackley to Ohio Street, turn
East where security personnel will direct you to the handicapped parking site.
Parking for Serenea’s Song only is located on the east side of the Festival Grounds off of Short Street. Security at the East Entrance at the corner of Short Street and Route 53 will help with access and free parking.
Travel ideas in the Midwest region
If you are looking for fun ideas for a Spring and Summer time travel, in and around the midwest region, listed below are few suggestions. These are places you could visit on a long weekend or take a road trip with family and friends.
- Warren Dunes State Park, Michigan
- Cahokia Mounds,St.Louis, Missouri
- Bahai House of Worship,Illinois
- Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, Missouri
The Bottom Line
My hope for you is that, you experience a hot air balloon ride at least once in a lifetime, its an experience you will remember. There are many hot air balloon festivals happening around the world.
If you are in the Midwest region or are visiting in summer, you must not miss this ‘Eyes in The Skies’ Hot Air balloon Festival.
Would love to hear what you think about this festival.Do share your feedback in the comments below.
I LOVE hot-air balloons!!
Thank you.It sure is a lot of fun.
Looks like a lot of fun! My kiddos have not been up in a hot air balloon ride yet!
Thank you. It is such a kid friendly festival to be in & I’m sure your kids will enjoy the hot air balloon ride .Have fun!
I have always wanted to go to a hot air balloon festival…they look so fun and they are so beautiful!
Thank you. Believe me, it’s a lot of fun!
This is so awesome! Great pics! I totally want to go to one of these someday soon!
Thank you, for your kind words.It is totally worth it!
I would love to attend and participate in an event like this. This festival reminds me of the Thanksgiving Macy Day Parade. It’s sad to hear the event is canceled for this year. Hopefully next year will go without a challenge. Thanks for sharing the fun!!
Thank you. Yes, hopefully we all get to go out & enjoy such fun events soon.
This looks like a great time. My fear of heights may kick in with an actual hot air balloon ride, but a tethered balloon ride may be perfect for me.
Thank you.Try it once & you will see that the “fear of heights” is not a big issue at all.Been there, done that 😉
Pretty and intriguing balloons. I would love to do this sometime.
Thank you. It happens each year around the 4th of July, this year however it is cancelled due to obvious reasons.
I love this! I would love to see this!
What a fun event! And the variety of hot air balloons is amazing! It would be so fun to attend this.
Thank you. It sure is a lot of fun.
Great info here! We have the Balloon Fiesta where I live!
Thank you. That is good news, coz you get to visit it. Happy summer!
So cool! Great details for anyone interested in attending. We went to the Albuquerque one, and I definitely want to check out others in the future.
Thank you, for your kind words.I have heard the Albuquerque one is spectacular & the largest in the U.S.
What a fun festival to go to. These festivals are the best part of summer!
Indeed! Thank you, for your kind words.
WOW looks like a great festival! and close to me in Wisconsin that I could check it out…next year!
Thank you.Yes, that is certainly doable. Enjoy!
Great article – riding in a hot air balloon is on my bucket list for sure. The closest one to me that I want to try is in New Mexico.
Thank you, for your kind words. The one that happens in New Mexico, is I believe the largest in U.S, so don’t miss it if you live close by.It is a fun experience!
That’s great! I’m crew for a hot air balloon out of New Mexico, and I see some of my friends’ balloons in your pics. And the Old Lady and the Shoe–our pilot had that one year at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta: what a royal pain to crew for that balloon! Yuch!! Crewing is really hard work. AIBF is the largest balloon fiesta (currently around 700 balloons each year…it’s been up to 1000), and is known as the most photographed event in the world.
Here’s my post about it: https://travelswithsuz.com/albuquerque-international-balloon-fiesta/
How fun to be part of the crew & I am so happy to be speaking to one who also happens to be one of my blog readers. Thank you, for that info. Yes, I have heard about the Albuquerque one being the largest & the most spectacular one in the U.S, hopefully one day will make it to that one. How fun to spot your friends balloons in the festival happening in Illinois, I was so tickled by the Old Lady & the Shoe Balloon & I do remember how many hands it needed to set straight, coz we visitors get to watch it from close range.Saw your beautiful blogpost just now, I love the reflection of the balloons on the water. Thank you, for sharing & happy to connect!
This looks like a really fun family activity! We have some local hot air balloon festivals, but not this large!
Thank you.Big or small, a ride on one is so worth it. Enjoy!
This looks like great fun!
So fun! There is nothing like seeing a hot air balloon on a summer’s night. An entire festival would be amazing.
Totally agree. Thank you.
We have something like this in the Louisville area called the Balloon Glow. My husband and I have been a few times but we’ve never taken our kids. We need to take them, because I know they’d enjoy it.
Yup, just seeing the joy on our kids face while they ride the hot air balloon makes us understand what it is to see the world thru our kid’s eyes. I for one thoroughly enjoyed it & felt like a 7 year old myself 🙂 Have fun!
Not too far of a drive for us. Thanks for sharing!
You are most welcome. Enjoy!