HEB 2021 | Plano Central Market Balloon Festival Weekend Guide

Updated: 08/17/21 1:45 p.m.

A message from the organizers of the Plano Balloon Festival:

The Plano Balloon Festival, Inc. has made the difficult decision to cancel the HEB Central Market Plano Balloon Festival 2021 which was scheduled for September 17-19. With the continued increase in cases of COVID, particularly the Delta Variant, the Festival Board and staff have considered the health and safety of our pilots, participants, volunteers, sponsors and Festival suppliers as our priority. absolute. In making this difficult decision, we are aware of the overwhelming number of families attending the event, the majority of whom have children under the age of 12. It is crucial to provide a safe environment for everyone visiting the event, especially for our youngest participants. Safety has been at the forefront of our Festival since the very beginning and that will not change. It was not an easy decision, but the right one to make. We deeply appreciate the support of our partners, sponsors and the community; and look forward to the best festival ever in 2022.

Back in September, the HEB | Central Market Plano Balloon Festival & Run will once again fill the field at Plano’s largest nature preserve. Join the community of Plano, also known as the official hot air balloon capital of Texas, as we host the largest hot air balloon festival in the Lone Star State with over 100,000 guests annually.

Event calendar

More than 50 hot air balloons from the United States will meet September 17-19 for HEB 2021 | Central Market Plano Balloon Festival at Oak Point Park & ​​Nature Preserve. The festival that started in 1980 now features a three-day weekend of hot air ballooning activities, starting with the band Party Machine performing on Fox4’s main stage on Friday, September 17 at 4:15 p.m. and the RE/MAX exhibition of Texas Parachute Team. at 5:30 p.m., followed by a static balloon tethering display also presented by RE/MAX of Texas at 6 p.m. where attendees have the opportunity to immerse themselves in a balloon experience. The balloons will inflate on the ground and participants will be able to interact with the balloon pilots, take great photos and learn more about the sport of hot air ballooning. Party Machine will take the stage at 7 p.m. To end the evening, a fan favorite is the illuminating Balloon Glow at 8 p.m. Fly through special-shaped hot air balloons that include Bimbo Bear, Peg Leg Pete, High Kitty, and more!

On Saturday, September 18, you’ll want to get up early to be on the festival grounds at 7 a.m. for the Balloon Static Tether Display presented by the City of Plano. Later in the day at 4 p.m., the band Missing 3 will perform on the main stage, followed by the Texas RE/MAX Parachute Team display and a balloon static tether display presented by HEB | Central market at 6 p.m. The Moving Colors Band will take over the main stage at 7 p.m., followed by another brilliant Balloon Glow at 8 p.m. And not to be missed – a fabulous fireworks display at 9 p.m.

On Sunday, September 19, lace up your running shoes for a 10k, 5k, and 1k run/walk at 7 a.m., 9 a.m., and 10:30 a.m., respectfully. There is also a final Balloon Static Tether Display at 7 a.m. presented by the City of Plano.

For the fourth year, we are thrilled to introduce Plano’s new 2016 Cameron XL-70 racing hot air balloon named “Excellence” piloted by local pilot Bill Broker. Learn more about “Excellence” here.

Play area for children

Enjoy fun and interactive inflatable rides in the Kids Fun Zone! Race through obstacle courses, slide down huge slides, ride a pirate ship, or cruise around bays. Don’t forget to also check out the “Toddler Zone”. Designed for young toddlers, they can discover the fun of inflatable structures at their size. Kids can enjoy the creative crafting and art making activities in our FREE Kids Korner as they work their way through the various craft stations. Get your face painted and explore the music in the Plano Symphony Orchestra Instrument Zone.

The price of the rides ranges from $2.50 to $5. All-day play wristbands are available for $20. Individual ride tickets are available for $2.50 each.

The ticket offices are open on Friday from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. | Saturday 7 a.m. – 9 p.m. | Sunday 7:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
The rides are open on Fridays from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. | Saturday 7 a.m. – 9 p.m. | Sunday 7 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Captive rides

Captive rides will be available again this year. Tethered flight is when the balloon lifts off the ground, hovers 20-30 feet above the ground for several minutes, but does not launch or fly away. Rides will be offered on-site at the festival, weather permitting, on a first-come, first-served basis and at the discretion of each rider. Captive rides are only available when the hot air balloons need to be on the ground. Tickets are available for purchase onsite (cash only). Adults are $25 and children ages 6-12 are $15.

Timetables, parking and ticket information


Friday September 17: 4 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Saturday, September 18: 6 a.m. – 8 a.m. & 4 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Sunday, September 19: 6 a.m. – 12 p.m.


Daily admission is $10 per person. Admission is $5 for children ages 3-12 and seniors 65 and older. Children under 36 inches are admitted free. Tickets will soon be available for purchase online. Stay tuned!

Plan to stop by the Visit Plano Welcome Center for a chance to win 1 of our 4 Up, Up & Away Plano Balloon Festival packages between August 23rd and September 23rd. 17!

Car park

Main parking is $15 per car for single entry and off-site parking is $10 per car for single entry. Prime Parking is available at Collin College Spring Creek Campus, Oak Point Recreation Center, and First United Methodist Church. Offsite parking is available at the Plano Event Center.

Answers to additional questions about dogs, coolers, lawn chairs and more were found on the InTouch Credit Union Plano Balloon Festival website.

The festival turns

This year’s Plano Balloon Festival races and walks will all take place on Sunday, September 19 and will include 10K, 5K, 1K and Elevate Challenge (10K & 5K) distances! All participants in each distance will receive dazzling commemorative medals! Additionally, all participants in the 10K and/or 5K and adults over 12 in the 1K will receive a gender-specific, dry-fit, short-sleeve race jersey. Children 12 and under in 1K will receive a cape! For those of you who are more daring, check out the Elevate challenge which includes both the 10K and 5K on Sunday. Challenge participants receive a finishing bonus medal. Race participants also get free entry to the festival on the morning of race day, as well as free parking. In addition, each participant will receive an additional entry to the festival valid only on the morning of the day of the race. For more information on the festival races and to register, click here.


For a list of hotels in Plano, click here to browse the list and filter the amenities that fit your needs.

The Plano Balloon Festival, Inc. is a non-profit organization that impacts other charities within the community. And, it is able to operate thanks to more than 3,000 volunteers who sign up to work shifts at gates, in parking lots, and people can even help pilots as part of their crews who inflate and launch the hot air balloons.