The Palm Beach Balloon Festival took place over the Thanksgiving weekend at the International Polo Club in Wellington, Florida.
It was organized by the Midflo Balloon Glow Tour. While they've held other balloon festivals throughout Florida, this was the first time the event was held in Palm Beach.
|Aerial view of the Polo Club from inside the hot air balloon|
I've always wanted to ride in a hot air balloon so I decided not to let the reviews deter me and I pre-purchased tickets. The tickets did state that they were non-refundable in the event that the balloons could not fly due to unfavorable weather conditions so I set my expectations low and told myself to be prepared for disappointment.
Some other poor reviews were about how disorganized the other balloon festivals were, which I will agree with. Aside from the parking, which was extremely organized and well-staffed with friendly employees, there was seemingly no order once you entered the venue. We could not locate a single staff member to direct us to where we needed to check-in for our balloon ride. There was no signage indicating where we needed to go either.
There was someone making announcements but because the International Polo Club is a massive arena, if you were on the other side of the field, you couldn't hear what was being said. Despite it being disorganized and understaffed, it didn't take us too long to find the line to check-in for the balloon rides because all of the other patrons started directing each other where to go. At one point, an announcement was made asking for people to volunteer to help inflate one of the balloons. Because of the lack of staff, the balloon festival turned into a very hands-on event and guests truly got a behind-the-scenes experience!
I'm so glad I didn't let the poor reviews deter me from attending the event because I had so much fun. It far exceeded my expectations and my only complaint was that the balloon ride was too short. I loved it so much that I wanted to do it again.
The balloons were tethered and very safe but there were plenty of other things to keep people entertained. They had music, games, and carnival rides for the kids and people who didn't want to go up in the balloons. Several bars were set-up for serving adult beverages and there were many food trucks to choose from where I had the best food truck meal I've ever had.
There were 18 balloons at the festival and once the sun had set and it was completely dark all 18 balloons went "full burn" and lit up.